One of the two key factors that led to the formation of the hatchery almost 130 years ago was the availability of fresh, reliable spring water. Aquatic resources are vital to human survival as well, and this site has hosted various tribal and settler types as far back as we have record.

One of the two key factors that led to the formation of the hatchery almost 130 years ago was the availability of fresh, reliable spring water. Aquatic resources are vital to human survival as well, and this site has hosted various tribal and settler types as far back as we have record.
Let’s now zoom out to look at this wet resource that is both abundant and rare at the same time. Worldwide, our planet is covered with 71 percent water. And scientists that ponder life on other worlds look for water first, since we can’t figure that it can exist without it. Here on Earth, water is definitely abundant in the large scale.
But it doesn’t take much figuring out to realize that it is not equally distributed. That’s why there are vast oceans as well as huge deserts. For human consumption, most of the water is not drinkable, since it is salty from the seas. In fact, a whopping 97 percent of our water is ocean. And of the remaining 3 percent, about 2.4 percent is locked up in frozen form in glaciers and icecaps. You should now be seeing that water is a rare commodity with these figures.
But that’s not all. Of the tiny 0.6% of non-frozen fresh water that remains, almost all of it is unavailable for human use, since most of it is underground. A veritable drop in the bucket is what humanity lives on – water from wells and springs, but mostly from lakes, streams and reservoirs. And while they look big when you’re looking at them (or swimming in them!), their water is a rare and precious resource that we’d better not take for granted.
It is good that environmental educators in the area have taken the importance of our water to heart. This week, McDonald County hosted a Water Awareness Festival for all their fifth graders. There they learned about groundwater, stream bioindicators, good riparian practices, erosion, pollution, water cycle, best management practices and more. I enjoy getting to help out other educators as we encourage ecological stewardship in our young people.
People of Neosho are a bit spoiled when considering how scarce fresh water is on a global scale. We have it good, our hatchery fish have it good, and we need to keep it that way. If we all appreciate what we have, we’ll take care of it and make sure future drinkers won’t go thirsty around here, and hopefully elsewhere.

Bruce Hallman writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.