Annual Report Fiscal Year 1997–1998
This summary of the Annual Report is a snapshot of the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year long accomplishments from July 1, 1997, through June 30, 1998. The Conservation Department made $646,529 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also paid $314,769.85 for land in the Forest Cropland Program.
Awarded more than $75,000 in grants to help 21 elementary, middle and high schools around the state develop outdoor classrooms. The grants, which ranged from $300 to $5,000 per school, were offered through the Show-Me Conservation Outdoor Classroom Grants Program. Purpose of the program is to encourage schools to develop and maintain outdoor learning sites on school grounds or at nearby locations to improve hands-on teaching and learning.
Bought Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in St. Charles County. The agency sought to buy this 4,468 acres of land at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers from the City of St. Louis for several years, and finally reached an agreement with the city to buy the tract for $9.3 million. Work has begun to transform the area into a thriving home for wildlife, and Columbia Bottom will be developed for a variety of outdoor recreation.
Engaged in a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The goal is providing one-stop shopping that will allow landowners to get a wide range of conservation-related services from one office near them. The NRCS has several important programs to help landowners, and since the Conservation Department has a wealth of forest, fish and wildlife management talent, the two agencies are pooling their resources.
Continued to work toward the goal of making all of the Conservation Department's public documents, often requested by mail, available via computer. The Conservation Department's best known product, the Missouri
Conservationist magazine, as well as a wealth of other publications, are available at the web site. Information on books, videos and radio and television shows also is included.
In addition to lengthening deer season, added a special January season and increased the number of bonus permits available to hunters to encourage a higher harvest of deer. Held 54 special deer hunts that allowed hunters to pursue deer outside of regular hunting seasons. Up to 30,000 hunters apply each year, and about one-third are selected by random computer drawing for a hunt. The hunts control deer populations while creating more hunting opportunities.
Saw the creation of the independent Conservation Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization with the goal