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Preserving Missouri's 'Great Outdoors'

February 17, 2011

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Many Missourians are looking forward to warmer days and spending them around the many rivers and streams in the Show Me State. New conservation efforts by the Obama Administration show Missouri has a lot to gain from the America's Great Outdoors initiative released Wednesday.

Amy Kober, communications director with American Rivers, says one recommendation includes "blueways," which ensures clean water and promotes river recreation, such as canoeing and fishing.

"Nearly every American lives within a mile of a river or stream. Rivers are absolutely essential to our health and the quality of life in our communities."

The challenge will be funding such an initiative, Kober says. The administration plans to hold several public hearings to get feedback on how best to implement the recommendations.

According to Kober, Missouri's blueways also have a positive impact on the economy - for example, the Meramac River paddle trail.

"Paddle sports are the fastest-growing water sports. There's a lot of momentum and potential to build local economies around healthy rivers."

The report also recommends managing ecosystem health around rivers and streams to better handle the impacts of climate change, such as droughts and floods.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO