In order to identify problems, it was necessary to explore the Indian Creek drainage basin and observe the activity or sites that are located there Due to our observations, the condition of the Indian Creek drainage basin in McDonald County appears to be in good condition overall. The majority of the land is either forested or used as cropland. Currently, it appears that the major concerns for water quality in this area have to do with pollution from cropland, poultry farming, and new construction.

The first concern is the pollution that results from activity on cropland. Many of these fields are located directly on the riverbank; therefore anything that is sprayed on the fields may wash into the stream after a heavy rain. Therefore, the concern is if these pastures are treated with fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, etc. then these chemicals will be washed directly into the creek, harming its health.

Another concern is poultry farms. In these operations, large numbers of animals are concentrated in small areas. The problem is that a large number of animals create an overabundance of waste material. The question therefore, is what do farmers do to dispose of the waste. If nothing is done, then the waste can wash into the creek, increasing the level of phosphates and algae. The good news is however, that many firms realize that this is a problem and are searching for new ways to dispose of the waste. A few operations are testing a new heating source which utilizes the wastes created from the poultry and reduces it by 90%. This procedure is still in development; however, if it proves successful, then it will decrease the concern for pollution by animal waste.

The last major concern for the water basin is the new construction. The water basin is located in an area that has experienced rapid growth within the last several years. The construction includes everything ranging from roads to homes. Before building can occur, the area has to be clear. This increases erosion and decreases the natural filtering system. Therefore, more materials and sediment wash into the stream, filling it up and polluting it.

There are other sources in the water basin that could negatively contribute to the level of water quality. They include dumps in creeks that feed Indian Creek, runoff from the town of Anderson, livestock wastes, sawmills, and salvage yards.

Currently, the Elk River Basin is being used for many things. Recreation is one of the largest growing industries in the area. The poultry, cattle, and other livestock industries have remained a constant source of income and economic growth in McDonald County, and specifically Lanagan, Missouri. Another component of land usage is the creation of residential communities along the Elk and Indian Rivers. With the expansion of the new highway, and new home development, McDonald County will need effective planning in order to safeguard its water resources from potential runoff, residential chemical use, and septic tank failures in the future.


In order to test the water quality of Indian Creek, a team traveled to Lanagan on four different occasions in order to conduct a chemical evaluation of the waterway. After reviewing their tests and summarizing their observations, they conclude that the creek was in overall good condition for the period measured (March/April 2004).

The first visit was during the first part of March when the creek was full of water and had a constant flow. These first tests were performed at a location inside the Lanagan City Park. The water clarity at this location was decent and the temperature of the water was fairly warm for that time of year (see data sheet for actual test numbers). The temperature outside was slightly cool, but overall it was a nice day.

The second visit was on a beautiful day, probably around 80 degrees outside. Again, the temperature of the water was rather warm for that time of year. That day the team floated up and down the creek in a kayak in order to gather observations of the stream throughout the town. They noticed an abundance of trash both in the water and on the banks and gravel bars. The only fish that were observed in the creek were several minnows and tadpoles. This trip was solely to observe the surroundings; therefore water quality tests were not conducted.

The third time that the team traveled to Lanagan, the southern part of Missouri had been under a flood warning for two days. Therefore, the water in Indian creek was about 4 feet above normal upon their arrival. Due to reports, a few days before their visit, the water in the creek had been as high as 15 feet above normal. The day of the third visit it was 70 degrees outside and the water temperature was about 60 degrees, which was a direct result from the warm rain that had just fallen. The water quality tests were performed at three different locations along the stream; however, because the water was floodwater, the results did not vary from site to site. During their trip, the team revisited the Lanagan City Park that they had visited the first time, but the scenery was quite different. Because of all of the rain, it had flooded and was completely soaked.

The final trip the team made to Indian creek was similar to the third time. The water was still high, and the tests were very close in measure again. The weather was good and the water was still close to 60 degrees.

Overall, the water quality tests were completed successfully. However, it is important to note that the testing was done over a short period of time under very similar weather conditions. Therefore, for more comprehensive results, more testing should be conducted in the future.