The day on the Niangua River was pleasant enough weather-wise, just ideal, actually, but seeing the degraded water quality certainly put a damper on the afternoon. In recent years, development in the watershed has taken off by leaps and bounds with new float outfitters, campgrounds, cabins, and other structures with poor wastewater treatment solutions. The catastrophic December flood event in the area has naturally resulted in high nutrient loading in the stream, all of those crummy, leaking septic tanks, the latrines, the flush toilets and cabins in the 50 year floodplain all dumping directly into the river. The cyanobacteria and other pollutants have caused a massive bloom of disgusting algae that is now coating every single rock and crevice in the upper Niangua River. Poor sculpin tried to navigate the rocks looking for interstitial spaces, which were nowhere to be had. The river is vile, and I'm beginning to wonder what the rest of our streams look like after that devastating event in December.