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 away from streams and makes payments on 10-year stream-side property easements.
- Offered clinics to teach youths the basics of waterfowl hunting and held actual hunts for participants.
- Opened new archery hunting areas in the St. Louis, Kansas City and Columbia metro areas. In addition to two deer, archers are allowed to buy five additional permits to take antlerless deer.
- Dedicated Eagle Bluffs, a nationally recognized 4,756-acre conservation area near Columbia that meets some of its water needs through the use of city waste water. The area has both seasonal wetlands and semi permanent wetlands and offers a variety of recreation from hunting to wildlife observation and fishing.
- Received an Emmy Award for its television show, Missouri Outdoors, and a children's TV special. This was the second consecutive year Missouri Outdoors captured the informational programming Emmy.
- Held workshops for landowners to learn about making money by becoming suppliers to the special forest products industry. Topics included agro-forestry, native plants and harvesting and marketing wild edibles, from potpourri, pollen and medicinals to botanicals and seeds.
- Announced the Partners for Wildlife Program had restored 8,000 acres of wetlands in the state. The program combines the efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Conservation Department and landowners to restore wetlands that have been degraded or destroyed. The Conservation Department provides the technical support needed to construct and manage wetlands in the program.
- Began the St. Louis Urban Deer Research Project. It monitors deer with radio collars to collect biological data on the animals and learn more about how they use their habitat. This information is being gathered to help urban communities make informed choices about controlling deer populations.
- The Missouri Stream Team program received the National Wildlife Federation 1996 National Conservation Achievement Award. The National Wildlife Federation recognized the program for its achievement in conservation education. Missouri Stream Team is cosponsored by the Conservation Department, the Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Federation of Missouri.
What the Money Buys - Fiscal Year 1996- 1997
Conservation Department programs foster a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples are growing and distributing 3.3 million tree and shrub seedlings for public and private land, assisting private forest landowners and Missouri communities, managing 436,264 acres of public forest land, developing the state's forest industry and conducting research on trees and forests.
Conservation Department programs ensure wildlife populations that are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Examples are management of about 475,000 acres of public land and assistance to private landowners, research and population monitoring of game and non-game species, wetland development, wildlife restoration including ruffed grouse, prairie chickens, osprey and collared lizards and wildlife damage control.
Maintains the aquatic resources enjoyed by 1.35 million Missouri anglers. Examples are spawning, rearing and stocking over 7 million fish, including 2.2 million catchable-size trout, fisheries management of over 700 public impoundments totalling 272,000 acres of water, assistance and incentives for landowners, fish kill investigations, research and monitoring of fish populations and stream stewardship programs.
Many Conservation Department programs relate to non-game resources and interpretation. Examples are interpretive programs conducted by nature centers and other naturalists' efforts, monitoring populations of nongame species, conducting research and identifying and protecting rare, endangered or fragile species and natural communities.
Paid for law enforcement, resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by 170 conservation agents, hunter education programs and 1,700 volunteer instructors conducting 1,100 classes and certifying approximately 30,000 students annually.
Outreach and Education-$12,403,241
Paid for education materials and contacts with Missouri schoolteachers, the Missouri Conservationist magazine, films, videos, postage and informational programs.
Paid for legal counsel, auditor, summer help and other administrative charges.
Administrative Services and Human Resources-$22,116,852
Paid for human resources, federal reimbursement administration, fiscal services, aviation services, fleet management, building and grounds maintenance, planning, environmental coordination, information management and technology and other essential services.
Land Acquisition, Landowner Assistance, In-Lieu Taxes-$12,846,726
Paid for new tracts and additions to existing areas totaling 30,489 acres.
Construction & Development-$11,418,455
Paid for outstate service centers, hatchery improvements, wetland development, river access site development and the construction of shooting ranges.
Design and Development-$3,357,803