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Governor Parson Requests U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Manage Missouri River for Flood Control, Navigation
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), April 17, 2019 - Missouri Governor Mike Parson has submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The committee field hearing in Glenwood, Iowa, will focus on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers river management following devastating flooding in the region. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley will participate. Witnesses will include officials from the Army Corps as well as leaders and stakeholders from Iowa among others.

"Our citizens rely on us to be their voice when their concerns need to be heard," said Governor Mike Parson. "The State of Missouri has continually been frustrated about the need for greater focus on flood control. It should not be hard to realize why when nearly one-third of our state falls within flood plain, and our state economy's number one industry is agriculture."

In his testimony, Governor Parson requested Congress to work with Missouri to expedite the delivery of federal aid as the state recovers from recent and ongoing flooding impacts. He also urged federal agencies to refocus the conversation away from fish and wildlife issues to the more pressing matter of flood control.

"The discussion we need to be having is how can the states of the Missouri River Basin work with Congress and the federal agencies to improve flood control and flood protection on a Missouri River system that has once again proven to be inadequate to protect our citizens," wrote Governor Parson in his testimony.

Two weeks ago, Governor Parson met with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts to identify regional solutions for recovery and flood repairs as well as a better path forward for future management of the Missouri River system.

Governor Parson requested the committee direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to return to managing the river in a manner that "clearly reflects the dominant congressionally authorized purposes of flood control and navigation."

"If we are to ensure that the system is managed in a way that reflects the priorities of basin citizens, it is imperative that the states of the Missouri River basin have direct input and that our recommendations are given due consideration," Governor Parson said.


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Callery Pear "Buy-back" Event in St. Louis on Arbor Day
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), April 17, 2019 - Homeowners with an invasive tree in their yard can celebrate Arbor Day, in a special way this year: by cutting it down.

To spread awareness about how the invasive Callery pear causes harm to economics and environment, MoIP will partner with Forest ReLeaf for a Callery Pear "Buy-back" offering on April 26. People who supply photos of themselves with a cut-down, in-bloom Callery pear tree in their yards will receive a free native tree to replace it. The offer is limited to one native tree per photo proof of cut-down tree. Participants are invited to pick up their trees at Forest Releaf CommuniTree Gardens Nursery (2194 Creve Coeur Mill Rd) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last.

"People once planted Callery pear trees for the beauty of their spring blossoms," said Carol Davit, director of Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) and chair of the Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP). "We now understand that when non-native Callery pear cultivars cross pollinate, the hybrid offspring become invasive, and are already causing harm to properties across the state."

An inter-agency and inter-organizational resource of MPF's Grow Native! program, MoIP's principal goal is to make early detection and control of invasive plants a higher statewide priority. The MoIP website offers resources on how to control highly invasive species; and provides resources onnative alternative trees to plant instead of Callery pear. "We don't want to merely encourage landowners to keep invasive species from spreading; we want to teach people how to plant beneficial native species in place of invasive plants," Davit said. "We are excited to partner with Forest ReLeaf, whose mission is to restore and sustain urban forests by planting trees and enriching communities."

Native, noninvasive trees with white flowers blooming in April include serviceberry, wild plum, and dogwoods.

Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) is native to China. Several cultivars of the tree are offered commercially, including 'Aristocrat', 'Autumn Blaze', 'Bradford' (which is the commonly planted "Bradford pear"), 'Capital', 'Chanticleer', 'Redspire', and 'Whitehouse'.

Callery pear limbs generally grow vertically, forming a pyramid or egg shape. In early April, very dense clusters of white flowers cover the tree before leaves form. In maturity, they reach heights of 30 to 40 feet. Property owners are encouraged to cut the trees during spring (when they are easy to identify) as a means to reducing populations from spreading in unwanted areas

These cultivars are generally themselves unable to produce fertile seeds when self-pollinated, or cross-pollinated with another tree of the same cultivar. However, if different cultivars of Callery pears are grown in proximity (for instance, neighboring homes or strip malls), thanks to insect pollination, they often produce fertile seeds - carried by birds - that can sprout and establish wherever they are dispersed. Each year, older trees in urban landscapes produce viable seeds that contribute to growing infestations. Breaking this cycle begins with choosing native alternatives for future plantings, and controlling existing invasive populations.

Participants in the "Buy-back" will have the opportunity to receive one of the following trees native to Missouri: Bur Oak, Northern Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Roughleaf Dogwood, Buttonbush, and hackberry. Four hundred trees are available, each in 3-gallon containers and between 4 and 5 feet tall.

Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis and may go fast; call ahead to 417-299-1794 or 314-956-2561 to confirm availability. To be eligible for a free tree, participants must either bring a photo of themselves next to their cut-down Callery pear or email the photo ahead of time to info@moinvasives.org.


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