BiodiverseCity St. Louis

BiodiverseCity St. Louis is a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more about this effort, and join in.

Take Action Today…and Make It Count

Throughout St. Louis, every day, people are making big and small changes to their backyards, balconies, streetscapes, schoolyards, parking lots, and play areas. Some are doing this because they love nature and want to experience more of it in their daily lives. Others recognize that native plants in the right places help prevent flooding, clean and cool our air and improve human health and well-being. Still others embrace the positive impact that leafy streets, accessible parks, hiking/biking trails and other quality green spaces have on property values and the economic vibrancy of our region.

For all these reasons and more, the BiodiverseCitySTL Network invites each of the 2.9 million citizens of the greater St. Louis bi-state region to take action. In this spirit, we are excited to launch the Nature in Our Neighborhoods citizen action project. No matter who you are or where you live, all of us can do something to beautify, bio-diversify and better the communities in which we live, work, learn and play. To get started, check out our curated list of expert ideas and local resources from across our region, connect with others and share your stories.


Species Spotlight

Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana).
©John C. Abbott & Kendra K. Abbott/Abbott Nature Photography

Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)

Somatochlora hineana is remarkable. Not only is it famous (in certain circles) for its enormous green eyes, metallic body, 3-inch wingspan, and aerial abilities, but its evolutionary back-story is one for the ages: When the dinosaurs ruled the earth, dragonflies and damselflies had already arrived on the scene many millions of years earlier. The first known dragonfly fossil had a wingspan of 29 inches.

For a lifeform that predates dinosaurs, its story today is perhaps the most extraordinary. One of the most endangered dragonflies in North America, Hine’s emerald dragonfly is now found only in scattered locations throughout Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. While the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed S. hineana as an endangered species in 1995, it wasn’t until 2010 when 26,500 acres of habitat was designated and protected as part of the recovery plan.

To do, if you’re up for a river trip: Visit this month’s “Let’s Map It” location, the Meramec River Basin, among the critical habitats known to support remaining populations of S. hineana. Even if you don’t encounter the rare species, you’ll likely find other equally impressive dragonflies doing their thing – expertly catching biting flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and other small flying insects. Thank them for us!

To do, if you find yourself in a place shared by S. hineana: Slow down. One study found that reducing driving speed to 35 mph or lower in areas where dragonflies are known to be present can reduce mortality significantly.

To do, everyday: Be mindful of where the by-products of your daily life end up. Keeping contaminants out of our rivers, creeks, and streams helps dragonflies and so many other extraordinary life forms survive and thrive.

Great Reads

The Endangered Species Act Needs a Reboot
It's the most powerful conservation tool in the world—and it needs to be updated
By Peter S. Alagona (July 2018)

In recent weeks, the current Administration has proposed what the New York Times characterized as “the most sweeping set of changes in decades” to the regulations used to enforce the Endangered Species Act. In addition, members of Congress are attempting to add spending-bill riders aimed at weakening the Act. Passed in 1973 and signed into law by President Richard Nixon, the landmark legislation, while far from perfect, has indeed been instrumental in saving endangered species from extinction. This month’s Great Read conveys a simple but incredibly important message: There are plenty of reasons to modify and update the Act, but no good ones to weaken it.


Let's Map It!

Kaskaskia River Meramec River Basin
Considered the top-ranked watershed in the Midwest, the Meramec is among our region’s natural gems. The basin supports 31 species of global significance, including several rare, sensitive, and protected species found no place else on Earth. When you consider that the 218-mile river winds through urbanized areas, this fact becomes even more impressive. Almost 300 aquatic or aquatic-dependent species have been documented there, from freshwater mussels, northern pike, and paddlefish to salamanders, lizards, bats, and this month’s Species Spotlight, the Hine’s emerald dragonfly. Throughout the basin, oaks, hickories, ferns, mosses, and lichens grace the landscape.

Of course, the Meramec is also an irreplaceable source of drinking water for approximately 70,000 households and offers abundant recreational opportunities. Thankfully, our friends at The Nature Conservancy and nearly 30 other conservation organizations worked together over multiple years to develop the Meramec River Conservation Action Plan, a blueprint that unifies conservation efforts in the basin. Completed in 2014, this science-based strategy brings together agencies, non-profit organizations, community groups, and private landowners to protect, restore, and conserve this treasure.

Meramec River Basin Map
Meramec River Conservation Action Plan


Featured Partner Programs

Milkweeds for Monarchs logo   Bring Conservation Home logo   Operation Clean Stream logo   Show Me Rain Gardens logo
A Community Initiative to Promote, Protect and Plan for Biodiversity Throughout the Greater St. Louis Region

National Public Lands Day

September 22, 2018
Celebrate something we all share: our Public Lands. Learn more


Nearby Nature

Nearby Nature map

Spend more of your time exploring and stewarding St. Louis' great outdoors. Download our Nearby Nature Map featuring 50 places to love and more than 100 things to do!


Grants & Research Opportunities