Ozark Land Trust (OLT), a Missouri nonprofit organization, has received a generous $100,000 grant from the Robert J. Trulaske, Jr. Family Foundation for streambank restoration along Huzzah Creek, a major tributary of the Meramec River.

The Huzzah Creek watershed, with its crystal clear, spring-fed streams and rich plant and animal life, is one of the most biologically intact and functioning landscapes within the Meramec River Basin. It also serves as the home to farmers who graze cattle and grow hay, and to those who enjoy the kayak and floating recreation for which the Ozarks are so well known.

“We are grateful to the Trulaske Foundation for trusting and enabling Ozark Land Trust to protect and improve the health of the Huzzah and Meramec watersheds,” said Larry Levin, executive director of OLT. “This support builds upon our partnership with landowners, agencies, and other nonprofits to protect the immense beauty and value of the land and waters, and at the same time meet the needs and goals of farmers and ranchers, whose homes and livelihoods depend on the creek’s health and stability.”

Huzzah Creek Restoration - Before

An example of a pre-restoration site in the Huzzah Creek watershed. (Steve Herrington, The Nature Conservancy-Missouri Chapter)

Streambank erosion is of vital concern for landowners in the watershed. Valuable land is washed into streams, filling in pools and reducing aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife. The Foundation’s grant, along with support from other funders, will enable OLT and its partners to stabilize and restore almost a mile along Huzzah Creek, as well as implement numerous other conservation practices.

“Our Foundation is grateful for the leadership of the Ozark Land Trust and the support of all partners involved in this effort to reverse the effects of erosion and protect habitat along the Huzzah,” said Jeanne Trulaske Dalba, president of the Robert J. Trulaske, Jr. Family Foundation.

OLT has worked in tandem with the Missouri Department of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy-Missouri Chapter, and a landowners’ committee that includes a variety of residents within the watershed. The groups have built strong relationships over the last 15 years, and a cooperative structure that has been effective in other Missouri watersheds as well.

In addition to administering the Foundation’s grant, OLT also holds five conservation easements on more than 500 acres in the Huzzah Creek watershed. Conservation easements keep land in private hands but prevent intense development, while allowing many productive uses, such as farming, ranching and forestry, to continue.

A land trust such as OLT serves as steward of the easements, permanently safeguarding the lands’ important conservation values.

Lead Image: An example of completed streambank restoration along Huzzah Creek. The Trulaske grant will fund substantial additional work like this. (Rob Pulliam, Missouri Department of Conservation)