Missouri DNR Works for Healthy Rivers

Online Presentation by Kansas City Regional Director Karen Rouse and Water Protection Director Chris Wieberg, Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

We were joined by two directors at the Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources who discussed couple of ongoing programs that the Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources is involved in that work to solve issues faced by the Missouri River and the larger Mississippi River Watershed.

Published: January 11, 2022

Online Presentation by Kansas City Regional Director Karen Rouse and Water Protection Director Chris Wieberg, Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

Click here to view the presentation on YouTube.

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An aerial photo of the Jameson Island unit of the Big Muddy Refuge looking north through the chute. photo courtesy of USFWS, Chance Bittner

Hosted by Missouri River Relief

On January 11th, 2022 we were joined by two directors from the Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources who shared a few ongoing programs that the Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources is involved with. These programs address issues faced by the Missouri River and the larger Mississippi River Watershed.

Kansas City Regional Director Karen Rouse has been involved in Big River issues at DNR for many years and has been working with the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee (MRRIC) since it began. MRRIC is a multi-state, multi-stakeholder group that advises the Corps of Engineers on the recovery of endangered species on the Missouri River. During her portion of the talk, she provided an overview of how the committee has evolved since 2008, challenges that remain and an update on recent discussions within MRRIC about the future of the Missouri River Recovery Program, which has seen drastic funding cuts in recent years.

Chris Wieberg, Director of the Water Protection Program at DNR, shared some of the on-the-ground research focused on reducing the nutrient pollution in our rivers that adds to the problem of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. This hypoxic zone is the region near the mouth of the Mississippi River that suffers from low oxygen levels and algal blooms due to nutrient pollution, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, throughout the watershed. DNR hired Barr Engineering Company to conduct a quantitative assessment of some of the agricultural best management practices funded through the DNR Soil and Water Conservation Program. Chris showed the findings of this research and what it means for our work to reduce nutrient pollution into our big river system.

Karen Rouse began her career with the Dept. of Natural Resources in 1998 as a public drinking water inspector in the Southeast Regional Office before transferring to the former Jefferson City Regional Office to continue in the same role. In 2001 she transferred to the Water Resources Center where she remained until 2019. The majority of Karen’s tenure with WRC was spent focused on Missouri River water management and endangered species issues. Karen has been involved with the Missouri River Recovery Implementation Committee on various levels since its creation in 2006. She currently is one of the State of Missouri’s representatives to the MRRIC while also serving as Regional Director for the Kansas City Regional Office. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Resource Ecology from the University of Michigan – Flint, and a Master of Arts in Geography from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Karen Rouse

Chris Wieberg has worked for the Department of Natural Resources since 2004, and the Water Protection Program in various capacities since 2010. Chris was appointed director of the Water Protection Program effective Aug. 1, 2017. Chris began his career with the department as a Soil and Water District Coordinator followed by unit chief with the Wellhead Protection Section prior to joining the Water Protection Program. Chris graduated from Lincoln University and holds a degree in agriculture. In his free time, Chris enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing and raising cattle on his family farm in Maries County.

Chris Wieberg
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The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

Click here for a list of upcoming presentations»

Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place in Kansas City and St. Charles.


The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.


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