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Partners in Conservation Projects

Missourians care about conserving forests, fish, and wildlife, and our list of partners shows it. All across the state, groups you may know or belong to are helping us improve wildlife habitat, care for streams, restore declining wildlife populations, and help people discover, enjoy, and conserve nature. Browse our featured projects and get to know the groups that are doing good for conservation in your area.

Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation

MCHF Homepage

MCHF advances conservation, enjoyment, and appreciation of our forest, fish and wildlife resources by funding priority projects of donors, the Foundation, and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Although we are separate from MDC, we share the agency’s mission and recognize it as our primary strategic partner. Private donors, grants, and our Stream Stewardship Trust Fund (an in lieu fee stream mitigation program with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) provide MCHF funding. Missourians also support us when they display a Conservation Heritage license plate on their vehicles.

MCHF has sponsored projects and events with dozens of conservation partners, always in coordination with MDC. We have invested over $12 million in projects since our founding in 1997. We recently raised over $60,000 to help MDC and Bennett Spring State Park to construct two fishing/viewing platforms along the spring branch at this popular trout park. Examples of other recent projects include support for Girls Exploring Nature outdoor camps, watershed protection and land acquisition in the LaBarque Creek watershed and other watersheds, Missouri Archery in the Schools programs, disabled hunter and angler events, woman and youth hunting experiences, Joplin tree planting, river access improvements, endangered species recovery projects, and numerous others.

Donors can direct their support to the programs that they care most about, such as public land acquisition, hunter education, natural areas protection, or for an individual nature centers or conservation areas. Please visit mochf.org for more information and to sign up for our newsletter.

Missouri Prairie Foundation

Missouri Prairie Foundation Homepage

Formed in 1966, the nonprofit, 501(c)(3) Missouri Prairie Foundation is the only organization in the state whose land conservation efforts are dedicated exclusively to prairie and other native grasslands. The Missouri Prairie Foundation is also home to the Grow Native! native plant education and marketing program.

Ecologists rank temperate grasslands—which include Missouri’s tallgrass prairies—as the least conserved, most threatened major terrestrial habitat type on earth. Prairie protection efforts in Missouri, therefore, are not only essential to preserving our state’s natural heritage, but also are significant to national and even global conservation work.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation protects and restores prairie and other native grassland communities through acquisition, management, education, and research. The Missouri Prairie Foundation owns more than 2,600 acres of high quality prairie and other grasslands, and partners with private landowners and many groups to manage the land it owns and to improve prairies owned by partners. In fact, the Foundation and Department have a cooperative agreement that covers several of the Foundation’s properties. The Foundation recently completed a three-year grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore native prairies and manage grasslands in the Mystic Plains Conservation Opportunity Area in Adair and Sullivan counties. The Foundation partnered with the Department of Conservation to improve more than 2,000 acres of native grassland habitat on private land.

Quality Deer Management Association

QDMA Homepage

In 1988, the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) was developed by a small group of South Carolina sportsmen to enhance state's deer herd. By 1990, the organization had grown beyond the modest borders of South Carolina. And today, the QDMA is an international nonprofit wildlife conservation organization and remains the leading advocate of the quality deer management philosophy.

Understanding that the QDMA is a technical research-based organization, the Missouri Department of Conservation has looked to the QDMA for information and partnerships. Both organizations prioritize efforts to manage habitat and promote sustainable, high-quality white-tailed deer populations on private and public land. Highlighting this is a joint position established in Missouri focused toward developing wildlife cooperatives. Groups and organizations across the country are making efforts to model the position to better achieve management goals and objectives through this voluntary program.

Missouri Department of Conservation staff members have been provided opportunities to attend training by the QDMA. In an effort to ensure employees have the most recent deer management information, the QDMA hosted an accelerated version of its Deer Steward 1 course. The course was taught by QDMA staff biologists, leading deer researchers from major universities and Missouri Department of Conservation's biologists.

Missouri's QDMA Branches annually host educational workshops for private landowners on prescribed fire, forest stand improvement, food plots, and a variety of deer management topics. Many of these workshops are performed in cooperation with Missouri Department of Conservation staff. Missouri Branches also contribute to a variety of community and food pantry programs such as Share-the-Harvest, donating over $10,000 in recent years.

Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited Homepage

Ducks Unlimited was chartered in 1937 by concerned sportsmen in response to declining waterfowl populations that resulted from the drought of the “dust bowl” days. Initially headquartered in New York City, DU sought to raise money in the United States to fund wetland conservation work on the breeding grounds in the prairie provinces of Canada.

From these humble beginnings, Missouri Ducks Unlimited has steadily advanced because of a marvelous synergy between passionate volunteers, energetic staff and conservation partners. Today Missouri Ducks Unlimited has 90 area committees with a total membership of 18,326 members. In 2012, local chapters raised $1,379,216 in support of wetland conservation.

Since Ducks Unlimited announced its intention to carry out wetland conservation work in the United States in 1984, Missouri has benefitted from a number of projects. Through 2012, Ducks Unlimited has funneled $14,061,086 to the state and a total of 108,103 acres have been conserved in Missouri.

The partnership shared between Ducks Unlimited and Department of Conservation has truly evolved into a model for wetland conservation delivery. Additionally, both organizations are not only committed to restoring wetland habitats in Missouri, but also share a strong partnership aimed at protecting the breeding grounds to our North. Over the past 32 years, Missouri Department of Conservation has contributed in excess of $5.3M to protect wetlands in Canada.

Numerous habitat projects and initiatives have benefited private and public land in Missouri including wetland restoration projects at Ten Mile Pond, Four Rivers, Settle’s Ford, and Nodaway Valley Conservation Areas.

Ducks Unlimited has helped the Department and other partners secure North American Wetland Conservation Act challenge grants for wetland conservation projects in Missouri. Some project highlights include wetland restoration and acquisition at B.K. Leach, Fountain Grove, Montrose, and Duck Creek Conservation Areas.

Whitetails Unlimited

Whitetails Unlimited Homepage

Founded in 1982, Whitetails Unlimited is a national non-profit conservation organization that has remained true to its mission, and has made great strides in the field of conservation. Our 90,000 members are passionate deer hunters who understand the need to conserve our natural resources, educate and encourage new hunters, and support the North American model of game management using regulated hunting as a primary management tool. WTU has earned the reputation of being the nation's premier organization dedicating our resources to the betterment of the white-tailed deer and its environment. Our mission is to develop and promote educational programs, habitat conservation, and preservation of the hunting tradition for the direct benefit of the white-tailed deer and other wildlife. Since our beginning, we have provided nearly $60 million in grants for a wide variety of projects including research, wildlife agency assistance, habitat enhancement/acquisition, college scholarships, public education materials, hunter safety/education, anti-poaching measures, National Archery in the Schools Programs, 4-H Shooting Sports, and cooperative projects with other conservation organizations. The vast majority of these projects are in close cooperation with local WTU Chapters, who are identifying and developing needed projects in their communities. Missouri has been a particularly strong supporter of Whitetails Unlimited, and many important local projects have received WTU grants to support hunters, shooters, conservation, and other outdoor initiatives. It is the local Chapters who determine what projects to develop, and working with one of WTU’s state Field Directors a grant can be awarded to get the project done. The local volunteers know best what is needed, and when those needs fit with Whitetails Unlimited’s mission of education, conservation, and the preservation of an American tradition, great things can happen. For more information about Whitetails Unlimited, visit www.whitetailsunlimited.com. We are always looking for hunters, conservationists, and people who love the outdoors to join with us in “Working For an American Tradition.”

Key Messages: 

Conservation pays by enriching our economy and quality of life.

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