Annual Report Fiscal Year 1999–2000
This summary of the Annual Report is a snapshot of the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000. The Conservation Department made $639,004.82 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also paid $312,825 for land in the Forest Cropland Program.
- Continued to fulfill the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Established in 1986, the NAWMP is an unprecedented effort developed cooperatively by private conservation groups and wildlife management agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Through the plan, Americans have spent $1.3 billion on wetlands, part of which was used to create the 14,000-acre Four Rivers Conservation Area. Wetlands created under the program have helped North American waterfowl populations recover from a low ebb in the 1980s to their current record levels.
- Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act. Formally known as the Dingell-Johnson Act, this piece of landmark legislation is the cornerstone of fisheries resources conservation in Missouri and throughout America. Passed into law in 1950, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act has provided more than $3.6 billion worth of support for aquatic conservation. Sport fish and restoration funds are generated by a 10 percent tax on fishing supplies and a 3 percent excise tax on pleasure boats and sonar devices. Revenues raised from these taxes have provided 75 percent of the funding of state projects, such as purchases of fisheries habitat and boating access sites, fishing education programs and research projects to improve fisheries management. Missouri's share of Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration money averages about $7.8 million annually. The Missouri Department of Conservation uses this money for research and to build hatcheries, lakes, stream accesses and other facilities.
- Celebrated "Centennial Forests," 100 Years of Professional Forestry. This year-long event highlighted the milestones of forestry management in Missouri, from the pioneer period to the modern era of scientific management. Goals include education and enhancing public awareness of the benefits of forestry and the state's forestry resources. Missouri's forestry resources provide clean water, clean air, wood products, wildlife habitat and a multitude of recreational opportunities for the state's residents.
- Joined in the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact, whereby 12 participating states will share information about game law violators and honor each other's decisions to deny permits to poachers. In the past, poachers whose hunting, fishing or trapping privileges were suspended in one state could simply drive to another state and legally hunt or fish. Because of this agreement, a violator whose privileges are revoked in Missouri will almost certainly have his or her privileges revoked in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Missouri, in turn, will honor revocations in these same states.
- Witnessed the first nesting of ospreys in Missouri. Due to the effects of DDT, ospreys had disappeared from Missouri for decades. From 1994-98, with help from partners like Kansas City Power & Light Co., the Conservation Department imported young ospreys from upper Midwestern states where breeding populations still thrived to special "hacking towers" at Thomas Hill Reservoir and Mark Twain, Pony Express, Truman and Montrose lakes . Department personnel recently confirmed the existence of an active osprey nest atop a utility pole in the Deepwater arm of Truman Lake.
- Created the Private Lands Program to help private landowners make their property as productive as possible for forest, fish and wildlife resources. For this effort, the Department redirected $2 million and converted 60 staff positions. As part of this program, private land conservationists contact and survey landowners to learn what services will help them achieve their visions for forest, fish and wildlife on their land. Discovered a cave crayfish species previously unknown to science. This was the first blind species of the genus Orconectes ever discovered west of the Mississippi River.
- Adopted an Urban Deer Management Policy to address concerns about increasing deer populations in urban areas. The policy provides guidelines for forming cooperative partnerships with urban/suburban landowners and municipalities.
- Sponsored the first "Lek Trek" in partnership with the Grasslands Coalition to heighten awareness about Missouri's grasslands. During the three-month event, trekkers supported by individual and corporate sponsors hiked sections of a 565-mile route through western Missouri, passing numerous "leks," or flat, open areas where prairie chickens perform their spring mating dance. The Grasslands Coalition selected the greater prairie chicken as the Lek Trek mascot because the large, colorful birds are unique to prairie areas. The prairie chicken now survives on only a fraction of the range it once inhabited in Missouri. It is one of hundreds of plants and animals that depend on native grasslands for survival.
- Posted a record spring turkey season in terms of both harvest and safety. The three-week season produced a harvest of 56,841 turkeys, an increase of 6,503 birds over the previous record set in 1999. The season also set a record for the lowest number of hunting accidents in any modern spring turkey season. There were no fatal accidents and only four non-fatal hunting accidents.
- Established otter trapping zones to permit increased harvest of otters in areas where they are found to be causing damage to property or sport fisheries. Smaller harvests are permitted in areas where otters pose no problems. River otters are flourishing in Missouri, and anglers and fish farmers in some parts of the state have complained of otter depredations. In other areas, otters have yet to fully occupy suitable habitat, and problems are few.
- Initiated a study of flathead catfish populations in the Missouri River. Using tagged flathead catfish, Department fisheries biologists launched the study to determine what percentage of flathead catfish in the Missouri River are harvested by anglers. Data produced by the study will provide better understanding of catfish populations in the river and, ultimately, improve fishing.
- Opened Combs Lake at Little River Conservation Area, creating valuable public fishing opportunities for anglers in Dunklin County and in surrounding Bootheel communities. The 150-acre lake was initially stocked with 1,000 16-inch channel catfish, and later received additional stockings of redear sunfish, bluegill, black crappie and largemouth bass. Combs Lake has a boat ramp with courtesy dock, a parking area, a fishing dock and privies. The Conservation Department placed almost 200 Christmas trees in the lake to provide fish cover around the floating dock, a concrete platform and four rip-rap jetties.
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 1999 - 2000
Forests - $14,028,436
Conservation Department programs foster a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing 4.78 million seedlings for planting to nearly 12,500 landowners, developing 112 Landowner Forest Stewardship Plans, bringing an additional 19,805 acres under total resource management , managing 444,417 acres of public forest land, developing the state's forest industry and conducting research on trees and forests.
Wildlife - $14,566,820
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, research and population monitoring of game and non-game species, wetland development, wildlife restoration and wildlife damage control.
Fisheries - $13,180,726
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. In 1999, the Conservation Department sold 1,494,924 resident and non-resident fishing permits and tags of all types to 909,026 people. The agency produced 3,660,117 fish for stocking in various waters and opened the Lost Valley Fish Hatchery. The Conservation Department manages 849 public impoundments totaling 277,055 acres of water.
Natural History - $2,101,983
Coordinates and provides overall and specialized services to the Department's natural areas, endangered species programs, wildlife diversity and natural community conservation and management programs, as well as programs to promote public appreciation of natural resources.
Law Enforcement - $15,383,151
Paid for law enforcement, resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by 216 conservation agents. Conservation agents, along with 1,850 volunteer instructors, conducted 994 hunter education classes and certified more than 30,000 students.
Outreach and Education - $11,570,355
Paid for education materials and contacts with Missouri schoolteachers, the Missouri Conservationist magazine, films, videos, postage and informational programs.
Private Land Services - $3,264,934
Newly established division provides resource education and technical assistance to private landowners to conserve forest, fish and wildlife resources.
Administration - $3,648,058
Paid for legal counsel, auditor, summer help and an expanded array of other administrative functions.
Administrative Services and Human Resources- $29,357,383
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 - $10,524,618
In lieu of tax payments, which included levee and drainage district taxes, totaled $639,004.82 to 112 counties. The four largest payments were to St. Louis ($48,116.95), Holt ($39,568.44), Howard ($28,204.12) and Shannon ($27,074.59) counties. Since 1980, more than $7.7 million has been returned to Missouri counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.
Construction & Development - $17,693,355
Paid for outstate service centers, hatchery improvements, wetland development, river access site development and other construction.
Design and Development - $9,349,998
Paid for engineering, construction administration and architecture.