Check out local maps! Learning where to find and how to read a wide variety of maps can help you understand how local streams flow and migratory patterns; identify floodplains, transportation routes, and where development is planned; anticipate the best places for wildlife habitat, recreation, and farming; and plan for public meetings and advocacy actions. Your city or county may have a neighborhood or city plan that gives insight into what may be coming to your community. Familiarize yourself with the relevant agencies and documents. While there are a number of resources highlighted below, there are many more that are easily accessible by doing a quick Google search that cover a variety of topics, depending on your interests.
B. Get Your Bearings
Learn about the environment around you with the EPA’s EnviroAtlas. This tool provides an interactive map to explore a range of topics in your area, such as water supply, climate, energy, and protected lands.
- Check out the Missouri Department of Conservation’s MO Outdoors App for your mobile device to see where there are conservation sites near you. These areas are protected for wildlife and recreation.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Information for Planning and Consultation includes resources to find endangered species in your area. Click “Get Started” to map endangered species near you.
- The National Wetlands Inventory allows you to view maps of the wetlands near you.
- The National Resources Conservation Service Web Soil Survey is an online tool that maps soil data for your designated Area of Interest.
- See who is monitoring your watersheds with this map of state watersheds available from DNR.
- Missouri Stream Team provides maps that show where stream teams have adopted rivers and streams and where activities such as water quality monitoring and clean up are located.
- The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge’s maps show wildlife refuges and wetland management in the Missouri River region.
- Learn more about watersheds at watershedcairns.com, a project sponsored by MCE to mark watershed with art. Enjoy images from the watersheds of the Mississippi River and Missouri River while learning what it means to live in a watershed.
- FEMA provides a flood map service to show areas with flood risks.
- In Kansas City, find your flood zone using the City of Kansas City’s mapping system, by checking the box that says “floodplain.”
- In St. Louis, Know Your Zone is a public awareness initiative provided by The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to encourage residents to find out what flood zone you live in.
- EPA’s EnviroAtlas also has information available regarding flood zones. More information about EnviroAtlas may be found above.
- EPA’s EJSCREEN tool includes 11 environmental indicators, allowing you to map proximity to hazards including air pollutants and hazardous waste.
- Find out more about where specific air pollutants are being monitored with this tool from the Missouri DNR.
- Learn about Missouri cleanup sites and Superfund sites with these tools from the EPA.
- Missouri’s 303(d) rivers and streams do not meet Clean Water Act standards. Missouri’s DNR provides a list of impaired water bodies.
- MCE’s CAFO map shows where CAFOs are located across Missouri. See where CAFOs are located and learn more about the environmental impact of CAFOs with these resources from MCE.
- USGS provides a number of maps on the Missouri webpage, including domestic wells, and oil and gas assessments. These can be found on the USGS Missouri webpage.
- Learn where your trash goes with Missouri DNR’s map and lists of permitted landfill and transfer stations.
- In St. Louis, use MCE’s foodshed map to learn more about sustainable agriculture and the local food systems. Additionally, you can find local farmers through the Known & Grown STL webpage, which includes a list of where to find Known & Grown products.
- In Kansas City, visit Kansas City Food Circle to find farms with CSAs and restaurants that source locally.
- MU Extension’s MO Food Finder allows farmers to submit their information to be listed on this map to help identify local food statewide.
- Make an informed decision on what Missouri fish are safe to eat, through the guide from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
In 2017, there was a proposal to construct a hockey complex in St. Louis County’s Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park. This project would have converted 40 acres of a public county park in the Missouri River floodplain into a massive hockey complex. To protect this land from development, Open Space Council coordinated with a number of environmental organizations in Missouri, including MCE, to successfully block this proposal.
Linda Fenton, Open Space Council Board Member and previous member of the City of Kirkwood’s Park Board, provides insight on advocacy surrounding land development, and recommends that you consider the following when thinking about protecting land:
A) Does the land in question have any restrictions on it? Restrictions may include land conservation easements, utility easements, deed restrictions. If it was purchased with grant money such as LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund) there may be limitations on its use or development. This is often the saving grace for many public lands.
B) Municipal land use changes: Look at the Missouri Revised Statutes, which include the classification of municipalities. Some of the classifications of cities have a couple important elements:
- That the city have a comprehensive (long term usually 10-15 years) plan which includes public input to formulate. It outlines goals & objectives for the future such as preserving historic locations, floodplain restoration, creating parks in certain areas that don’t have a park, working with nonprofits to improve natural areas, and more. Browse through a city’s comprehensive plan (and the previous one) to see if the project you are advocating for or against is consistent with the comprehensive plan, its goals, and objectives.
- Section 89 of the Missouri Revised Statutes addresses zoning. This section can be helpful when going before a city council or planning and zoning commission. It’s especially important to look at the requirements for voting, such as whether something can pass by a simple majority or requires ⅔ approval by the deciding body.