Back in 1989, a small group of fly fishermen on Roubidoux Creek in Pulaski County discovered they were hooking more trash than fish in their little blue ribbon trout stream.

Members of the AT&T Stream Team chapter in Joplin, Mo., and one of their recent hauls from a local river.

Members of the AT&T Stream Team chapter in Joplin, Mo., and one of their recent hauls from a local river.

Fed up with the tires, mattresses, and random appliances littering their sparkling trout stream, they banded together and sought out those most connected to conservation issues to try to establish a stream adoption program that could support large scale cleanups, so they could once again capture the fish they adore.

Inspired by ideas shared at the first Rivers and Streams Conference, the Missouri Stream Team Program was born by collaborating efforts of the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

The very first cleanup on Roubidoux Creek in 1990 involved over 50 dedicated volunteers including then-Governor John Ashcroft and yielded a whopping 17 tons of garbage. Since then, more than 5,200 Stream Teams have signed on to the cause of education, stewardship, and advocacy for Missouri streams, removing over 11,000 tons of trash from our watersheds, planting over 300,000 trees along stream banks, and monitoring the water quality of over 3,000 sites throughout the state.

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