A Summary of the Missouri Department of Conservation's Annual Report 1996-1997
This summary of the Annual Report is a snapshot of the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 1996 through June 30, 1997. The Conservation Department made $604,251.50 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also paid $330,206.59 for land in the Forest Cropland Program.Director Jerry J. Presley retired. The Conservation Commission selected Jerry M. Conley as new director. Director Conley embarked on a reorganization of the Conservation Department.
- Started the Forestkeepers Network, a program for citizens with an interest in forests. Forestkeepers members help Missouri forests to thrive by learning to assess the condition of trees in forests and by guarding against insect invasions and diseases. Forestkeepers provides a citizen network through which members share their concern for forests. The program is open to any interested citizen, group or family.
- Provided $110,000 in grants to help 35 schools develop classrooms where kids can learn about nature in the outdoors. The grants ranged from $800 to $5,000 per school and were offered through a new statewide grant program sponsored by the Conservation Department.
- Began a program to help landowners control purple loosestrife, an aggressive, exotic plant that invades marshes, wet prairies and waterways, crowding out native plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife.
- Drew praise from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its commitment to meeting Americans With Disabilities Act standards. Published a series of booklets to lead people to accessible facilities on Conservation Department lands. The Conservation Department has an active program to make its facilities accessible to everyone. These include accessible fishing docks, shooting ranges and hunting sites.
- Produced a new video, "The Nature of Trapping," that takes a look at the historical significance and modern day benefits of trapping in Missouri. The Conservation Department produced the 19-minute program to dispel misconceptions about traps, explain how carefully regulated trapping enables people to live with burgeoning furbearer populations and to show how trapping helps the agency restore threatened or extirpated species.
- Began a three-year program to restore walleye to the St. Francis River above Wappapello Lake. The Conservation Department will stock 51,000 fingerlings each year and restrict angling until the fish are established.
- Launched a stream conservation program to protect the state's best streams and improve damaged streams. The program pays landowners to help keep livestock out of streams and ponds, control stream-bank erosion and improve fish and wildlife habitat. It helps landowners water livestock