A Strategy for Conservation Success
Columbia Bottom Conservation Area near St. Louis, for example, the Conservation Department is creating an urban conservation area containing a mosaic of shallow wetlands, bottomland forests, bottomland prairies and cropland.
The area is already open to hikers and bicyclists, but a self-guided auto tour, a boat access, a viewing site of the confluence of Missouri's two mighty rivers, and a combination headquarters and visitor center are also being planned.
On the other side of the state, the August A. Busch, Jr. Memorial Wetlands at Four Rivers Conservation Area is being developed primarily for wetland species. A large-scale construction project completed in 1996 restored more than 2,000 acres of this area to productive wetlands. Developments include a pump station, a reservoir and a system of levees and water control structures that allow control of water levels in separate marshes.
An additional 3,200 acres of forested and open wetlands are being developed. Although the area primarily attracts hunters, an access road and an observation overlook allow nature enthusiasts to see some of the waterfowl that flock to the wetlands.
Throughout the state, conservation area regulations are being standardized and simplified so that people can easily understand them. In addition, conservation agents will increase patrols of conservation areas to increase safety and reduce unlawful use and vandalism.
In Developing its new strategic plan, the Conservation Department relied on some core beliefs about the resources and the people of the state and about the work of the Department. Although people and the environment constantly change the ability of the Conservation Department to achieve its mission and fulfill its mandates rests on the following assumptions.
Missourians value fish, forests, wildlife habitats and natural communities. They believe in and support the fundamental premise of conservation.
Missouri's human population will continue to grow and spread across the land, increasing the struggle to protect and restore natural resources.
There is a need for more and better information and knowledge about fish, forests and wildlife, and about the people who use and enjoy these resources.
Serious strides in conservation of natural resources must involve partnerships, cooperation and collaboration of public and private interests.
Private property rights are sacrosanct to Missourians and must be held in high regard by the Conservation Department.
The Conservation Department's budget will remain stable for the foreseeable future.
Integration of Conservation Principles and Urban Lifestyles
Increased urbanization is one of the biggest challenges to conservation in Missouri. Not only