Clean Water

Stream Team

Ladue Middle School

  • Stream Team #: 76
  • Date formed: Dec. 4, 1989
  • Location: Ladue
  • For more info about Stream Teams: see links below.

Whenever the Missouri Stream Team program celebrates an anniversary, so does Stream Team No. 76. Elizabeth Petersen organized Ladue Middle Schools Stream Team when the program was still in its infancy.

A self-described “nature girl,” Petersen grew up playing in creeks, so it was natural for her to adopt the small stream behind her house. As a seventh-grade science teacher, she has made caring for creeks part of her curriculum. With the help of other Ladue Middle School science teachers, she introduces more than 250 youths to water-quality monitoring each year.

Working Stream Teams into the science curriculum gives students a chance to be scientists, rather than just reading about scientists. They learn about science through hands-on experience gathering data in the real world. Parents who tag along on field trips are amazed to see their children transformed from kids into competent investigators working to preserve Missouri’s priceless stream heritage.

Citizen Activists

Three Stream Teams joined forces to build awareness.

Shari and Bob Laroussa (ST2542), Doris and Bob Sherrick (ST2574) and Stacy Wilson (ST2523) formed the South Grand River Watershed Alliance to promote community watershed protection. The group now has 20 members and is about to launch a membership drive. The Alliance has applied for a Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) grant to install a rain garden at the Raymore-Peculiar Middle School and is sponsoring programs to acquaint people with government watershed protection programs and resources. For more information, contact the Alliance at info@southgrandwatershed.com or visit online.

Floods and Flood Plains

Giving rivers places to spread out during high flows.

The Great Flood of 1993 taught Missourians some tough lessons about rivers and their flood plains, but it wasn’t until several years later that the river delivered an object lesson.

Flooding in 1993 forced more than 10,000 people from their homes. dozens died in flood-related incidents, and property damage ran into the billions of dollars. The flood breached levees and rendered thousands of acres of farmland useless.

State and federal agencies purchased some of the devastated acres from willing sellers at market value and set them aside. In some cases, levees on this land were set back farther from the river. In areas where other landowners were not affected, land was left open to the river. In all, more than 21,000 acres were made available for the river to spread out in times of flooding.

Torrential rains returned in 1995, and the National Weather Service predicted another flood. However, the flood never materialized. the same thing happened in 2002. Did setting aside flood-plain land prevent two floods? No one will ever know for sure, but giving the river elbow room could only have helped.