Our water resources are a vital regional asset and therefore stormwater management, floodplain protection, wetland
habitat, watershed planning and restoration, wastewater treatment and drinking water are important policy issues which need constant attention.
What is a Watershed?
A watershed is an area of land where the runoff from rain and snow will ultimately drain to a
particular stream, river, wetland or other body of water. Watersheds can be as big as the Mississippi River, draining 1.2 million square miles and 33 states, or as small as the land
that drains to a creek in your backyard. There are nine major watersheds in the St. Louis region which drain into the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
Healthy watersheds provide plentiful drinking water supplies, habitat for fish and wildlife and
water for irrigation, industry or recreational activities. Without clean water supplies our society would be radically changed from what it is today. Standards for a healthy watershed
are easily defined by "yes" answers to two important questions. Is the stream or river clean enough for a person to swim in it? Is the stream or river clean enough for fish to thrive?
Everyone Lives in a Watershed
2010 Watershed Map
208 Water Quality Planning
The 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments laid out a commitment to protect the rivers and streams of the
U.S. The major goal was to attain "water quality which provides for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish and
wildlife and provides for recreation in and on the water". Sections 208 and 201 of this act set forth requirements and procedures to achieve the delineated goals. An
approved Section 208 water quality management plan was prerequisite for the 201 planning process to develop and implement community/district wastewater
treatment plans. Under Section 208, Governors from each state designated planning agencies for their metropolitan areas. East-West Gateway was designated
as one by the Governor of Missouri in 1975. Subsequently, a regional water quality plan was developed for Missouri counties of Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles and St.
Louis and the City of St. Louis. The St. Louis, Missouri Water Quality Management Plan (208 Plan) provided a framework for establishing control strategies to solve both
point and non-point pollution problems. The 208 Plan identified the Lower Meramec River as a high priority stream and major regional asset. The plan detailed the
capacity and location of regional and sub-regional wastewater treatment facilities
and addressed non-point pollution problems and related issues. The 208 Plan was completed in 1978 and approved by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1979.
St. Louis Water Quality Management Plan (pdf)
St. Louis Water Quality Management Plan (zip)
(note: Because of the size of this document, it is divided into 4 pdf files linked together by pdf bookmarks.
A "zip" file is available which contains all 4 pieces for downloading)
East-West Gateway has implemented the 208 Plan's recommendations by: providing technical assistance to local governments and sewer districts; conducting studies on septic tank management, stormwater detention, and low impact
development; performing Water Quality Management Plan updates; and facilitating the Regional Water Resources
Committee. Most recently, staff completed the Lower Meramec Watershed Plan from Pacific to Valley Park.
The watershed management approach takes into account the specific water resource (stream, river, lake) and the surrounding land from which the water drains. Land use planning is one of a series of tools which can help
to protect, maintain and restore the natural environment by directing development toward areas which can support a particular type of land use and/or density. Planning tools can be used to balance water conservation and land use development.
Watershed Planning Objectives (pdf file)
Natural Resource-based Watershed Planning (pdf file)
Lower Meramec Watershed Plan
The Meramec River is one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the United States. The drainage basin for the Meramec is nearly 4,000 square miles of central and eastern Missouri. The Lower Meramec watershed runs from Sullivan, Missouri,
through the southern part of the St. Louis metropolitan area and enters the Mississippi River near the city of Arnold. It contains 33 sub-watersheds
draining directly into the Meramec River. The plan area includes the 12 digit watersheds of Brush Creek; Fox and LaBarque Creeks; Hamilton, Carr, Flat,
Forby and Kiefer Creeks; and Grand Glaize, Williams and Fishpot Creeks. These tributaries enter the Meramec between Pacific and Valley Park. East
-West Gateway entered into an agreement with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop a nine-element watershed plan. The
overall objective of the plan is to provide a framework for managing and improving water qualitywithin this reach of the Lower Meramec.
The emphasis of this watershed planning effort is on public lands and parks associated with the Lower Meramec watershed and its tributaries. Communities can use parks and public lands
to reduce costs for storm water management, flood control, transportation and other forms of built infrastructure. Moreover, serving in their role as green infrastructure, parks and open
space are a community necessity. By planning and managing urban and rural parks and open space as part of an interconnected system of green space, cities and counties can
reduce flood control and storm water management costs, as well as protect biological diversity and water quality while serving as a place for recreation and community well being.