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Urban Waters Partnership

Urban Waters and the Meramec and Big Rivers (Missouri)

Map showing 3 basins of Meramec RiverThe Meramec and Big River project is located southwest of St. Louis, Missouri. The Meramec River is one of the longest waterways flowing through Missouri before emptying into the Mississippi River and is well known for its recreational uses.

Formerly a booming lead-producing region, the towns in the Meramec and Big River watersheds hold over 200 years of lead mining pollution. As a result, high levels of heavy metals and lead sediment have entered the Meramec and Big Rivers. Lead contamination has affected wildlife, especially mussel and fish populations. Public consumption warnings still exist on the tributaries of the Meramec and Big River.

Seeking to address the lead contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) serve as members of the Big River Task Force. This is a group of various governmental organizations, from federal to local levels. Their work aims to facilitate the cleanup, restoration, and remediation efforts on the Meramec and Big Rivers.

Additionally, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership and an Urban Waters Ambassador intend to break down federal and state silos and facilitate collaborative practices.  Together, these efforts can improve the public’s and the rivers’ health.

List of Partners

Federal Government

  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Geological Service
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry
  • Center for Disease Control
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)

Non-Federal Partners

  • Missouri Botanical Gardens
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources
  • East West Gateway Council of Governments
  • Meramec Regional Planning Commission
  • Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
  • Missouri State
  • St. Louis University
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Kiefer Creek Watershed Coalition
  • Missouri Stream Team

Non-Governmental Orgs

  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources (Our Missouri Waters)
  • East West Gateway Council of Governments
  • Meramec Regional Planning Commission
  • Soil and Water conservation Program
  • Meramec River Recreational Association
  • Belews Creek Watershed
  • Kiefer Creek Watershed Group
  • Missouri Botanical Gardens
  • Great Rivers Greenway
  • National Parks Service
  • Open Space council
  • Sierra Club
  • Watershed Cairns
  • Metropolitan Sewer Distric (Project Clear)
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Local Partnership Workplan

Big River Clean-up and Restoration Effort