Protecting Your Environment
St. Charles County Government works diligently to make policies, provide information, and offer programs that will ensure our environment remains protected and safe, now and in the future. But we can’t rely on policies and programs alone. It takes all of us, working together and making a concerted effort, to preserve our valuable resources.
How You Can Help
Fight Stormwater Pollution
Stormwater runoff is rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground, picking up chemicals, dirt, debris and other pollutants along the way and carrying them into storm drains. From there, this untreated water goes into our creeks and lakes. These are bodies of water where we swim and fish and that we use as a source for drinking water!
There are simple things you can do to prevent this pollution—and what each person does makes a difference!
- Clean up pet waste and dispose in the trash or toilet. Do not flush plastic bags.
- Go to a car wash or wash your car on a lawn or unpaved surface rather than a road or driveway to keep water from going down the storm drain. Use biodegradable soap.
- Sweep up leaves and other yard debris, trash and dirt. Mulch or compost yard clippings instead of bagging.
- Mow higher. Taller turf results in 80 percent fewer weeds and reduces the need to water and fertilize.
- Clean paint brushes in the sink, not outdoors, and recycle oil-based paint, chemicals or auto fluids at St. Charles County’s Recycle Works.
- Use native plants to reduce or eliminate the need for lawn chemicals. Visit grownative.org for a list.
- If you live along a creek, keep yard waste away from banks and surrounding areas, leave a native vegetative buffer alongside streams, and refrain from mowing up to the edge of the creek.
- Learn about St. Charles County’s Stormwater Management and Watercourse Protection Program, MS4 Stormwater Permit/Plan, and how to protect water quality.
- Invite the St. Charles County Division of Environmental Health and Protection to make a fun and informative program to your school or scout group. Programs cover hazardous waste and earth-friendly cleaning products, recycling, water quality and our ecosystem and making crafts using recycled items.
- Visit St. Charles County Parks’ educational areas to learn how water impacts wildlife and the environment.
Pick Up Pet Waste
Pet waste is more than just a stormwater problem—it’s a source of pollution that can cause issues with water quality and human health. When it ends up in bodies of water, the nutrients in the waste can cause excessive growth of algae and weeds. The water becomes murky, green and smelly and not good for swimming, boating or fishing. Pathogens—microorganisms that cause disease—also are in the waste and can make the water unswimmable and unfishable. They can cause severe illness in humans.
Dog feces are one of the most common carriers of Hookworms, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Whipworms, Parvo and Salmonellosis. Pet waste left anywhere is a potential public health risk.
- Always carry waste bags with you when you take your pet on a walk or are in a public area such as a park. After you pick up the waste, throw it in the trash.
- Avoid letting your pet “do his business” within 200 feet of a body of water.
- At home, pick up pet waste in your yard. Dispose of in the trash or toilet. Do not flush plastic bags.
- Educate others about the hazards of pet waste and how to dispose of it properly, and take St. Charles County Parks’ Scoop the Poop Pledge!
Reduce the amount of trash in landfills and waterways by utilizing recycling programs. Did you know that 80 percent of items Americans throw away is recyclable, but our recycling rate is only 28 percent? Check with your municipality about their curbside programs and other opportunities, and/or visit St. Charles County’s Recycle Works centers.
To complement municipal curbside recycling programs, St. Charles County’s Division of Environmental Health and Protection operates two drop-off Recycle Works centers that collect and process recyclable materials from citizens. These facilities accept a wide variety of items at little or no cost to St. Charles County residents:
Need reasons to recycle, or to convince your family and friends to recycle? Check out the Division of Environmental Health and Protection’s Recycling Facts page.
How St. Charles County Government Helps
Located at the junction of Dardenne Creek and the Mississippi River is one of St. Charles County’s newest parks – Riverside Landing. The park currently is closed for the construction of a variety of new and exciting amenities, including the first “blueway” for the county that will provide new opportunities for canoeing and kayaking.
Called the Dardenne Creek Blueway, this water trail will connect nearly six miles of water from the City of St. Peters’ Lakeside 370 Park to Riverside Landing. St. Charles County Parks staff began planning for this waterway when the park was purchased in 2018, however, pollution – debris from trees and man-made trash – impeded the connection and flow between the creek and the river. Staff cleaned up the connection, and will be creating a habitat to protect wildlife, planting vegetation along the banks of the creek to filter water, developing a long-term maintenance plan, and applying for grant funding to further maintain the blueway. The canoe/kayak landing and launch areas already are under construction at both Riverside Landing and Lakeside 370.
The Dardenne Creek Blueway is just the beginning! The Parks Department is developing plans for a similar connection between Indian Camp Creek and Flatwoods parks through the Big Creek and Cuivre River.
Developing Parks, Amenities and Programs
St. Charles County Parks preserve land for future generations. The Parks Department is often gifted or purchases land to make certain St. Charles County has plenty of green space as the county grows. Presently, there are xx of acres in reserve, meaning this land will be developed for future parks.
The St. Charles County Parks Department has programs in place to protect our environment. At numerous parks there are prairies in progress to restore native plants like switchgrass, big bluestem, Indian grass and coneflower. These restoration projects help treat stormwater pollution and further improve downstream bodies of water.
Here are other ways our parks nurture and protect the environment and educate the community:
- All parks: Activities and educational opportunities such as field trips and Ranger-Guided Hikes
- In most parks: Multi-use and natural surface trails and fishing ponds
- Broemmelsiek Park: Home to a four-acre Historic Educational Agricultural Area that features a variety of crops grown in St. Charles County as well as the Astronomy Viewing Area
- Hideaway Harbor: Bald Eagle watching in the winter
- Towne Park: Includes rain gardens, forest-themed playground, scenic rain gardens, and the only Certified Nature Explore Classroom in St. Charles County
Improving and Maintaining Stormwater Quality
Under the authority of the Federal Clean Water Act and Water Pollution Control Act, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has regulatory authority to require local government entities, like St. Charles County, to improve or maintain storm water quality within their boundaries. To accomplish this, the MDNR issues a permit to the County known as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit. Learn more about this permit and process and provide feedback.
Offering Online Services
From tax payments to applying for jobs to viewing animals available for adoption, did you know you can save gas and paper by accessing many County government services from the comfort of your home? A comprehensive list is available online.