The Big River was my river. The family farm has probably close to 1/4 mile of riverfront and was purchased over 60 years ago and I have memories from my youngest age. We had a dock directly across from a wonderful, large gravel bar. I and my brothers spent countless hours catching sunfish from the dock. The Big is actually a small river that we could walk across at it's lowest to get to the gravel bar. We used to be able to dive and come up with handfuls of mussels that we used for bait.
Today there are no longer any mussels and the state tells people not to eat any fish from it. It has been contaminated by lead from flooding at the old Doe Run tailings upstream. The state has tested our soil and confirmed the contamination. I'm sure it affects the sale price of the property, if it could actually any longer even get someone to make an offer.
Fucking really pisses me off. I have not been able to share my love of the river with my children by fishing or frog gigging with them or even planting a garden. My folks used to have a large garden every year as we grew up and my parents would allow us to take our little red wagon around the neighborhood with a baby scale to sell tomatoes. We got to keep all of the money. I remember when we had tomatoes coming out of our ears, selling them for 6 lbs. for a dollar and, they were real tomatoes, juicy and flavorful unlike the plastic ones you get today.https://www.epa.gov/urbanwaterspartners/urban-waters-and-meramec-and-big-rivers-missouri