Annual Report Fiscal Year 1998–1999
This summary of the Annual Report is a snapshot of the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 1998, through June 30, 1999. The Conservation Department made $617,501.82 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also paid $295,264.50 for land in the Forest Cropland Program
- Held two "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW)" courses. These popular courses teach women skills so they can participate in outdoor recreation that has traditionally been the purview of men. The Conservation Department held both courses at the YMCA of the Ozarks near Potosi and 209 women participated. We also offered nine "Beyond BOW" workshops that offered participants the chance to learn one skill or a small group of related skills; 95 women participated in these programs.
- Waterfowl populations have blossomed in numbers not seen for 20 years, thanks in part to the Conservation Department's participation in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, a blueprint for the recovery of waterfowl in the United States. In Missouri, the focus has been on habitat that waterfowl use during their migration through the state. Some 25,000 acres of additional wetlands are now in place in Missouri, and intensive wetland management has been conducted on thousands of existing acres.
- Helped conduct Wonders of the Outdoor World (WOW), a national conservation and outdoor recreation school that provides a four-day introduction to all the outdoor skills and sports that participants want to become more familiar with. About 250 people participated, choosing among courses as varied as turkey hunting, bird watching, canoeing, recreational shooting, cave exploration and wild edibles. Sponsors held the event at Roaring River State Park.
- Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Karen McCarthy's efforts paid off when Congress appropriated $500,000 for the Conservation Department's Discovery Center. A total of $3.4 million in private donations have been raised. The facility will be the nation's first urban conservation education center, bringing the wonders of outdoor Missouri into the heart of Kansas City. The Discovery Center will focus its education programs on helping children growing up in the city to appreciate the bounty and beauty of nature and learn outdoor skills, such as fishing, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing and hunting.
- The Missouri Division of Tourism joined the Conservation Department by providing $15,000 to the "Stash Your Trash" program, which encourages canoeists to help keep Missouri streams clean. The Tourism Division funding helped the program distribute 200,000 bags to 130 canoe liveries statewide. The businesses equip their rental boats with the bags to enable canoeists to dispose of trash while on the river, prevent unintentional littering from overturned canoes and encourage boats to pick up trash left by others. The number of bags provided was twice those sent out the previous year.
- Continued to restore ospreys, eagles and peregrine falcons to Missouri. Young ospreys were "hacked" on towers overlooking several Missouri lakes, while young peregrine falcons were introduced from tall buildings in Springfield and Kansas City. Eagles are successfully producing young at dozens of nests around the state. These three birds of prey had virtually disappeared from Missouri by the 1960s. Birds introduced by the Conservation Department will return to the state to nest, and populations should increase as this happens.
- Held three Common Ground Forums in the St. Louis area. The forums were held to help citizens, city officials and developers work together to assure that outdoor resources can continue to contribute to the quality of life in urban areas. Topics include sustainable floodplain use, urban streams and waterways, and urban forests. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Stream Teams, Conservation Federation of Missouri and the Missouri Home Builders Association co-sponsored the forums.
- A donation by the Conservation Department made it possible for the city of Ironton to preserve a historic mountain battlefield that overlooks the town. The donation was a 196-acre tract of land. The land had previously been donated to the Conservation Department with no stipulation as to how it would be used. Ironton would sell this land to the Forest Service, keeping it in the public domain, and combine the money with funds from a half-cent city sales tax to purchase about 700 acres on Shepherd Mountain, the location of the Battle of Pilot Knob, a Civil War battle that took place around Ft. Davidson.
- The Stream Team program continues to be popular with Missourians. It allows them to volunteer to improve local creeks and streams. The Missouri Stream Team Program grew to 1,212 teams during the past year with more than 35,000 members who are active in habitat surveys, stream cleanups and water-quality monitoring. A master's degree thesis was even written about the program. Stream Team is a volunteer program that is jointly sponsored by the Conservation Department, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Teams adopt specific streams and care for them.
- The Conservation Department combined the Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Permit with the regular Firearms Deer Hunting Permit and added a Youth Deer and Turkey Hunting Permit and a Managed Deer Hunting Permit for the 1999 hunting seasons. Increases in some permit fees and decreases in others also are among changes in permit fee structure that were approved. Reshaping Missouri's hunting and fishing permit fee structure addresses suggestions from the public about resident and nonresident permits.
- Continued the youth deer hunt program in the St. Louis area. The Conservation Department chooses up to 130 hunters with adult sponsors to hunt at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area or the Weldon Springs Conservation Area. Applicants must be between 11 and 15 years old. Most youngsters apply for the hunts to spend fun time outdoors with a parent, other relative or friend, learn outdoor skills and have the opportunity to harvest their first deer.
- Revamped the waterfowl hunting reservation system on some conservation areas. The newly adopted objectives of the program were to offer a diversity of hunting styles and ensure a quality hunt. The changes also are intended to ensure hunting opportunities for novice hunters, promote hunting ethics and provide equal opportunity for all Missouri hunters.
The Conservation Department began a walleye initiative to expand walleye fishing opportunities around the state. The agency selected several lakes and six rivers that showed the most promise as walleye fisheries. These waters were to be managed and stocked so that more anglers could enjoy catching walleye. The plan calls for stocking millions of small walleye in the targeted rivers and lakes.
What the Money Buys - Fiscal Year 1998 - 1999
Forests - $12,969,340
Conservation Department programs foster a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples are: growing and distributing 4.3 million tree and shrub seedlings for public and private land, assisting private forest landowners and Missouri communities, managing 442,664 acres of public forest land, developing the state's forest industry and conducting research on trees and forests.
Wildlife - $13,878,917
Conservation Department programs ensure wildlife populations that are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Examples are: management of about 501,066 acres of public land and assistance to private landowners, research and population monitoring of game and non-game species, wetland development, wildlife restoration and wildlife damage control. Provided wildlife habitat improvement through 2,779 contacts with private landowners.
Fisheries - $11,744,191
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. During 1998, the Conservation Department sold 1,530,156 resident and non-resident fishing permits and tags of all types to 926,357 people. The agency produced 9,246,523 fish for stocking in various waters and conducted 11 stream management workshops with a total attendance of 456 private landowners. The Conservation Department manages 846 public impoundments totaling 276,918 acres of water.
Natural History - $1,730,597
Emphasis includes development of guidelines and workshops on savanna and prairie restoration and management, surveys for marsh birds, designation of additional natural areas and vegetation monitoring of selected natural areas, continuation of major book projects, incorporation of natural history information and natural heritage data in regional management guidelines, updates to the heritage database and promotion and recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and endangered species work in Missouri.
Law Enforcement - $13,409,321
Paid for law enforcement, resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by 150 conservation agents, hunter education programs and 1,850 volunteer instructors conducting 1,038 classes and certifying approximately 29,000 students annually. Supplied 53,830 pounds of food plot seed to 3,580 landowners.
Outreach and Education - $9,952,392
Paid for education materials and contacts with Missouri schoolteachers, the Missouri Conservationist magazine, films, videos, postage and informational programs.
Administration - $3,139,914
Paid for legal counsel, auditor, summer help and an expanded array of other administrative charges.
Administrative Services and Human Resources - $20,181,902
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 - $7,673,439
In lieu of tax payments, which included levee and drainage district taxes, total $617,501.82 to 112 counties. The four largest payments were to St. Louis ($48,116.95), Holt ($39,568.44), Howard ($34,366.00) and Shannon ($27,069.01) counties. Since 1980, more than $7.1 million has been returned to Missouri counties under the in lieu of tax program.
Construction & Development - $11,349,291
Paid for outstate service centers, hatchery improvements, wetland development, river access site development and other construction.
Design and Development - $8,532,135
Paid for engineering, construction administration and architecture.