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Eastern Missouri Group E-Newsletter

MARCH 2014

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March 27, 2014, Sierra Club and Audubon Joint Meeting

Audubon Bring Conservation Home

7:00 to 8:30 p.m. St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd. (map)

Mitch Leachman, with the St. Louis Audubon Society, will discuss naturescaping and a new program called Bring Conservation Home. 
 

April 24, 2014, Sierra Club General Meeting
7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Litzsinger School, 10094 Litzsinger Road at Lindbergh Blvd., Ladue, MO 63124 (map)

The Mounds - America's First Cities Project
. Suzanne Kutterer-Siburt presents the conclusion of a feasibility study seeking an appropriate national designation and process by which to preserve the ancient Mississippian civilization that once thrived in our region.

 

Missouri Sierra Club Lobby Day

On Wednesday, March 26, spend the day in Jefferson City with the Missouri Sierra Club! We will be talking with legislators about issues of environmental importance to Missouri. Clean air, clean water, protection of wild lands, renewable energy and a sustainable future - come to the Capitol to tell your senators and representatives what we need.

We will meet at 10 a.m. in Hearing Room 5 in the basement of the Capitol. You can RSVP here. You can also RSVP or learn more by contacting Michael Berg or call the office at 314-644-1011.

 

Celebrate Earth Day in Pioneer Forest April 9-10 or April 12-13!

stream in Pioneer Forest

We may see early native wild flowers and hear the songs of migrating birds as we do trail work in this special area known as the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry.

Weekdays: On April 9 and April 10 we will meet at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. each day for the drive to Pioneer Forest.  Register with Paul Ohlendorf 314-647-5971 or Paul Stupperich 314-429-4352.

Weekend: April 12 and April 13 we will again meet at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Visitor Center each morning at 8:30 a.m. for the drive to Pioneer Forest. Register with Brigid O'Malley or Becky Denney 636-751-3158.

Camping will be free at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park but plan to bring your meals. You are welcome to come for 1 or all 4 days but registration is required.


Trails Committee
The Trails Committee will hold a planning meeting on April 22 at 6:30 pm at the Sierra Club office.  For more information please contact Paul Stupperich at 314-429-4352. 


National Trails Day will be Saturday, June 7

Join us at Frontier Park, St Charles and along the Katy Trail as we celebrate National Trails Day with the First Missouri State Capital State Historic Site. The event includes kid friendly activities, a bicycle rodeo, bicycle safety programs and demonstrations on outdoor gear. Contact Becky to plan the Sierra Club booth for June 7 at St Charles.

Paul Stupperich for information.


Mingo Wilderness
By George Behrens

In early May of 2013,  I was on my way to Mingo to meet friends who had planned a trip there.  It rained before I started, it rained on the drive and it rained when I got to the campground at Wapapello Lake.

Saturday morning dawned cloudy, cool and damp but without rain.  We met at a parking lot at Mingo Refuge. We started out walking the Boardwalk Trail.  The rain had raised the water level and a lot of the area under the boardwalk had  several feet of water.  The water created reflections that caught our attention.  Colorful little birds flitted among the trees.  I kept expecting to see the bane of Indiana Jones but I think it was too cool.

Mingo Wilderness Spener
Mingo Wilderness by Richard Spener

From the Boardwalk we drove to Flatbanks to start our canoe trip.  The fields along the way had large herds of deer that had seen too many cars and stood looking at us.  At Flatbanks we unloaded our canoes, kayaks and gear and  set out up the Mingo River. Within a short distance we were in Mingo Wilderness.  It is a refreshing feeling to me to know I am someplace where motorized travel is banned.  We proceeded in a northerly direction up the river, being careful not to make a wrong turn into an incoming creek.  Even with all the rain there was almost no current in the river.

Cypress trees grew up out of the river and maples and birches and other water tolerant trees were on the low shore and the ground beyond that was uniformly flat.  Fresh green vegetation stood out against the grey sky or grew on the surface of the water.  Little birds flitted through the trees and occasionally we would scare a great blue heron that would slowly fly off ahead of us with its enormous wings waving.  On the two previous trips I had done to Mingo my most vivid memories were of water moccasins coiled up on the surface of the water, challenging us to a duel.  There were other snakes too, and lots of turtles and frogs and a muskrat.  Even though those trips had been in late March the days had been much warmer.

After a while we found a piece of high ground, about a foot above the water, and stopped for lunch.  It was cool in the shade and it was all shade.  We were all adept at dressing for the weather but we did not linger.  We continued up the River until we came to the wilderness boundary at a levee road and portaged to the other side into the Refuge.  A short paddle brought us out into Monopoly Lake.  The trees mostly disappeared except for a few sentinel-like cypress.  Buttonbush clogged large parts of the lake.  An eagle crossed the sky. The cloud cover gave the Lake a shimmery black and white look.  It reminded me of the Cache River in southern Illinois that I had canoed in two months prior.  If time had permitted we could have ventured far into the lake, being mindful of looking back regularly to remember our path back.  It was late in the afternoon and we all knew that we had to return to our starting place.

Mingo is the only wilderness area in Missouri that is not part of the Mark Twain National Forest.  Mingo is administrated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For more info on Mingo Wilderness visit their website.

 

UPCOMING HIKES IN MISSOURI'S WILDERNESS AREAS:
April 16 (Wednesday) -- Mingo Wilderness  This is the western part of the Mingo Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are two boardwalk trails in the Wilderness Area with the remaining using old roads and levees. Great bird watching opportunities in marsh habitat. Contact Doug Melville, 636-288-1055 for meeting time and place.

May 3 (Saturday) -- Explore Paddy Creek Wilderness on a one day canoe trip on the Big Piney River.  Enjoy this quiet stream that flows thru the wilderness area.  Camping Friday and/or Saturday night is an option.  Toni Armstrong or Richard Spener at 314-434-2072.

May 4 (Sunday) -- Explore Paddy Creek Wilderness by foot on a day hike.   We will enjoy pine trees, small waterfalls and views of the valley below from a rock outcropping.  Join us as we investigate this beautiful wilderness area.  We will be camping Saturday if interested in joining us.  Nancy Carrol 636-394-6265 or Toni Armstrong at 314-434-2072.


Lawsuit Challenges Missouri River Environmental Restoration
A lawsuit recently filed by over 200 individuals from 5 states along the lower Missouri River represents a brazen but baffling challenge to virtually any environmental restoration and endangered species protection along the lower Missouri River.  The suit is brazen because it claims that by following existing laws and guidelines the Army Corps of Engineers caused flooding which resulted in a "taking" of their land and properties. If successful the suit would jeopardize existing and future environmental legislation and cost taxpayers dearly.   The suit claims that through alleged actions such as a "spring rise" in water flow, adjustments in reservoir water levels and creation of shallow water habitat along limited segments of the river, the Corps caused or aggravated flood damages. 

Council Bend Chute, Army COE
Council Bend Bluff
photo by Army Corps of Engineers

But the suit is baffling because it appears disconnected from the facts of recent river management and hydrology.   Recent years of damaging flooding, such as 2011, were accompanied by uncommon volume of spring rainfall and snowmelt.  Most years in contention did not include a spring rise or reservoir retention for that purpose.  Habitat creation along the river has been very minimal, and such areas often ameliorate flooding instead of increasing it.  The Corps has thoroughly and vigorously explained and justified its management decisions each year.

The unlikelihood of success on the merits of the lawsuit raises questions about what other goals its backers seek.  The suit clearly aims to weaken environmental laws, especially the Endangered Species Act.  Based on federal laws going back decades, the Missouri River has been managed for several purposes including flood control, navigation, recreation, water supply, fish and wildlife and more. This suit may be an effort to reopen that historic "multiple purposes" approach and drop environmental values as part of the mix.  The suit of course provides grist for those who want to politicize and traffic in misinformation.

The 2011 flood caused damage and hardship to area farmers and communities.  But the arguments put forth in this suit are misplaced.  Absent from their analysis is the real impact of unprecedented weather patterns, combined with levees, new development, roads, floodplain farming and the typography and force of the Missouri River itself.  Living and working along the river will always be a risk until these realities are faced. Also at risk is the modest but important restoration work being carried out along the river by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers.  These efforts, authorized by Congress but limited by budget cuts, are surely also a target of the forces behind this suit.  For more information about the Club's work on the MO river contact Caroline Pufalt.

The Missouri Chapter is Hiring an Organizer
        .... please help us find the right person!

The Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club is looking for somebody with green fire in their belly to coordinate and implement some of our major initiatives around renewable energy and moving us off of dirty coal.  You'll be organizing grass roots activities across the state, working with multiple stakeholders to drive real change via advocacy and outreach activities, and handling a variety of media activities.  Are you ready to change the world (starting with the Show-Me State)? Click here for more information and to apply.


Beyond Coal Workshop
Learn ways we can lessen dependence on dirty energy sources at this workshop on Sunday April 6 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the St Louis Ethical Society.  Contact Sara Edgar for information.


Save the date --
   EMG Trivia Night will be held on November 15, 2014.  

Seeking Conservation Buyer
Sixteen and a half acres near Pacific, Missouri available for purchase.  The property covers 90% of the watershed of a year-round stream in an unspoiled valley.  It features large oak, hickory and pine trees, beautiful moss-covered rock formations, many native wild flowers such as maidenhair fern, Dutchmen's breeches and putty root orchids.  Home to the great-horned owl, pileated woodpecker, coyote and other animals.  For more information and a showing, call 314-646-0626.


A Free Talk on Low-Carbon Living

On Wednesday, April 17 at 7 pm, Rae Machado will speak on what life is like in  Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, an intentional community in northeast Missouri. The 70 residents share four cars, and use about 10% of the electricity and water that average Americans use. They also grow much of their food, build their houses out of natural materials, produce their own energy, and follow a multitude of other green practices. Ecovillages are a worldwide phenomena, and Dancing Rabbit is one of the largest and most well-established in the United States.  The talk will be at Longview Farm Park, 13525 Clayton Road, Town & Country, MO 63141. This Green Speaker event is sponsored by the City of Town & Country's Green Team Commission.

 

Green Time TV - Looking to Tomorrow
Green Time
appears in four Missouri areas. In the St. Louis area it airs at noon on Saturdays on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mondays on Channel 24-2 on these dates:

imageApr400.jpg

April 5 & 7: "Harambee 101 (A Look Inside Our Schools)"  This is the Junior Black Chamber of Commerce" (JBCC) debut of Harambee 101 on Green Time TV.  Ravon Lingard and Sean Nichols discuss the school learning environment, including how the Individualized Education Plan can help and hurt black students. 

April 12 & 14
: "Harambee 101 (Rain Drops)" Xavier Silva and Darryl L. Wise discuss foster care, children's homes and the many services that Annie Malone Children & Family Service continues to provide to children and youth in the St. Louis area. 

April 19 & 21: "Health of the Honeybee"   Jane Sueme discusses the importance of pollinators, bee losses in the US and metro St. Louis, and guidelines for people wanting to keep honeybees. 

April 26 & 28: "The Community Arts and Movement Project (CAMP)." Resident artist Sarah Paulsen and Sistah Chris explore how CAMP functions as a focal point for artists and environmental activists to affect the surrounding neighborhood as well as the broader St. Louis community.

April shows include portions of the movies "IEP," "Rain Drops," "Tom Theobold on Bee Loss" and "CAMP – People's Joy Parade." To volunteer to help produce Green Time call 314-727-8554 or email Don Fitz.


Eastern Missouri Group Outings Calendar

Sierra Club members and non-members are welcome to join Club members on our outings.

Visit the Eastern Missouri Group website for more information about outings, activities, and issues.

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Maplewood, MO 63143 314-644-0890
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