Who’s to blame for water quality issues?

The Current River snakes it’s way through Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. Float down it and you’ll likely see turkey vultures riding thermals overhead. Cicadas on either side of the river chirp and oak trees sprout out of rock.

“It’s a trout fisherman’s paradise,” Dennis Kopp said.

Kopp, a retired entomologist professor at North Dakota State University, pointed out the mayflies, an indicator of high water quality, hovering above the river. There were too many to count. 

The water looks the way Mother Nature intended. It appears clear enough to see the mossy rocks at the bottom. Trout swim underneath the canoe.

And there it is—someone’s Bud Light can; the sure sign of our collective impact on the environment.

The signs of our impact aren’t always as apparent as a beer can at the bottom of a river. Rebecca Landewe, Current River project manager said her team collects water quality samples as one way to gauge the quality of the water.

Human and horse excrement increase the level of bacteria in the water. In turn, more algae grows causing oxygen levels to decrease. This hurts the water quality for other wildlife who live in or otherwise depend on the river.

It’s a safe assumption on July 5th you won’t see as many mayflies.

Edited by Erin Schell

 

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