Conservation by the Numbers
Lost Valley Fish Hatchery, one of the largest public hatcheries in the nation, is expected to boost fish-stocking efforts. This warm-water hatchery is the largest project ever constructed with Sport Fish Restoration funds administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Construction costs totaled $18.4 million, of which 74 percent was reimbursed to the Conservation Department from the federal aid program.
In addition, the Department operates five cold-water hatcheries that provide trout for the state's four trout parks, as well as for 16 stream areas and for put-and-take fishing opportunities in 13 St. Louis urban lakes and four Kansas City urban lakes. The Department stocks more than 1.5 million trout in these waters each year.
Other fisheries projects include sampling stream and lake fish populations and angler harvest, installing or maintaining fish habitat, testing fish for contaminants and helping landowners improve fishing in their private ponds and lakes. The effort on private lakes includes stocking more than 800 private impoundments yearly with fingerling largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish.
The Conservation Department manages about 450,000 acres of forest. On average, slightly more than 1 percent of this total is harvested for sawtimber each year. Less than half of the 1 percent is subjected to clearcut harvesting. The remainder is harvested by intermediate cut, uneven-aged management or shelterwood, or is harvested for firewood.
Forest management on private lands involves providing technical advice and assistance to landowners. Conservation Department foresters monitor forest health and recommend tree plantings. They also provide advice on forest improvement, forest products marketing and use, and improving wildlife habitat.
During fiscal year 1999-2000, Conservation Department foresters contacted 3,205 landowners, prepared 112 Forest Stewardship plans that covered 19,805 acres and seeded or planted trees on 2,279 acres.
In addition, the George O. White State Forest Nursery provided 4.78 million seedlings for planting to about 12,500 individual landowners during the 1999-2000 tree ordering season. The demand for tree seedlings has generally increased in the more than 50 years the nursery has operated. The number of seedlings distributed last year, for example, was 10 percent higher than the year before. Free seedlings are provided to youth groups and schools and to the Missouri Department of Transportation for roadside plantings.
Managing Missouri's forests requires protecting them from insects and diseases. A plant diagnostic laboratory and an entomology laboratory, both located in Columbia, provide foresters and landowners forest health information. During the last fiscal year, the diagnostic laboratory and regional