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Wide Borders Benefit Wildlife

Many wild animals, including deer, turkey, bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse and a host of songbirds, need brushy edges to thrive. A razor-thin edge with tall trees on one side and grass on the other doesn't leave these species much margin for survival. For maximum benefit, they need wide borders.

The easiest way to create a brushy border is to cut the trees from a swath 50 to 100 feet wide. Leave stumps a foot or two tall, and spare small understory trees, such as sassafras, dogwood, hawthorn and serviceberry. The berries from these trees are important wildlife foods.

Cut the tops from the trees into manageable lengths and use them to build brush piles. Put the biggest limbs on the bottom to create durable foundations with lots of cavities where rabbits and other wildlife can escape weather and predators.

Even without supplemental planting, the cut-over border strip will provide significant wildlife habitat within six months. Grasses and other herbaceous plants that have languished in the forest shade will develop first, followed by sprouts from tree stumps and dormant seeds. Within three years, the area will be so densely vegetated you'll hardly be able to walk through it. For wildlife, it doesn't get any better than that.

The 90-page booklet, "Wildlife Management for Missouri Landowners," provides detailed advice about this and other wildlife management practices. To receive a copy, contact the Conservation Distribution Center, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, (573) 751-4115, ext. 3630, fax (573) 522-2020, or e-mail <pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov>.

Paddlefish Die at Bagnell Dam

The death of more than 70 paddlefish at Bagnell Dam highlights the importance of re-examining the dam's operating procedures.

The fish, each weighing 40 to 70 pounds, died in late October after being sucked against a grating that protects hydroelectric generating turbines from floating debris. Although this is the first such kill reported by the dam's owner, AmerenUE, the conditions that contributed to the incident are not uncommon.

AmerenUE wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to renew Bagnell Dam's operating license, which expires in 2006. The new license would allow AmerenUE to operate the dam for at least 30 years.

Before AmerenUE gets a new federal license for Bagnell Dam, the Conservation Department wants the utility company to conduct a comprehensive study of how the dam's operations will affect fish, wildlife and recreation. It wants those factors addressed in a new operational plan that will protect recreation on Lake of the Ozarks, protect natural resources and landowners along the Osage River below the dam and ensure the dam's ability to produce electricity.

Bagnell Dam was built 70 years ago, before forests, fish, wildlife and recreation were considered when planning utility projects. The Conservation Department believes a reconsideration of Bagnell Dam's operations, taking into account incidents like the paddlefish kill, is long overdue.

Conference Focuses on Forest Stewardship

The 22nd Annual Tree Farm Conference Feb. 23 at the Country Club Hotel, Lake of the Ozarks, will address landowner concerns and questions about private forest management.

The conference theme is "Forest Stewardship: It Begins With Your Goals and Management Plan." Paul Tauke, forestry supervisor for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will be the featured speaker. He will present a morning workshop, "Identifying and Establishing Your Forest Management Goals." Other workshop topics will include a legislative update, cost-share assistance for landowners, tax incentives for agroforestry, the Conservation Department's Private Forest Landowner Program and best management practices.

The luncheon will include the presentation of awards for regional and state tree farmer of the year. Also at the luncheon, families that have operated tree farms for 50 and 100 years will receive silver and gold tree farm certificates.

Registration will begin at 7 a.m., and the conference will adjourn at 4 p.m. Foresters and other professionals will be available at the opening continental breakfast to visit with landowners.

For more information, contact Julie Rhoads, University of Missouri, 203 ABNR Building, Columbia, MO 65211, (573) 882-3234, e-mail <RhoadsJ@missouri.edu>.

Plan Goose Solutions Now

If Canada geese have become a nuisance in your neighborhood, now is the time to do something about them.

Missouri's resident Canada geese now number more than 50,000, and the population is still growing. Most people find the birds engaging and desirable up to a point, but too many of the birds can create unsanitary conditions. In other instances, the birds wear out their welcome with aggressive behavior. Around airports, they can be hazardous to commercial aviation.

If you have too many geese in your neighborhood, try these tips to encourage them to move elsewhere.

  • Never feed geese.
  • Leave a barrier of grass at least six inches tall around lake edges.
  • Plant hedges or install fences (as short as 3 feet will do) between the lake shore and your yard.
  • Remove man-made nesting structures.
  • Check your property frequently in February and March for signs of nest building and remove nest material before geese begin laying eggs.
  • Hang reflective plastic streamers to discourage geese from landing on your property.
  • Use propane cannons or special pyrotechnics, where legal, to frighten geese away.
  • Harass geese whenever they come on your property.
  • If practical, allow hunters to take geese legally during regular hunting seasons.

You can use noisemakers, dogs, brooms and rakes to harass geese, but harassment must stop once they begin laying eggs. The only way you can capture, injure or kill geese legally outside the hunting season is with a special permit. You also need a permit to destroy or collect their eggs.

Missourians who have tried various non-lethal strategies to solve their goose problems may qualify for permits to oil or addle eggs or to round up birds and remove them. For more information about dealing with problem geese, contact the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Services, 1714 Commerce Court, Suite C, Columbia, MO, 65202, (573) 449-3033; or contact the nearest Conservation Department office.

Natural Resources Conference Focuses on Streams

Professional conservationists and citizens with a strong interest in the stewardship of Missouri's natural resources will gather for the annual Missouri Natural Resources Conference Jan. 30 through Feb. 1 at Marriott's Tan-Tar-A Resort, Osage Beach.

This year's conference theme is "Streams-uniting and dividing the landscape." On-site conference registration will open at 1 p.m. Jan. 30 and continue through 8 p.m. Exhibits of art and commercial equipment will begin at noon and run through 11 p.m. The conference will kick off with a student job fair at 5 p.m. Jan. 30, followed by a mixer at 6:30 p.m.

Conference registration is $25 before Jan. 7, and $50 thereafter. Student registration is $10 before Jan. 7, and $20 after that date. The conference agenda, registration forms and other information are available online at <www.mnrc.org> or contact Duane Chapman, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201, (573) 876-1866.

For lodging, contact Tan-Tar-A, P.O. Box 188TT, State Road KK, Osage Beach, MO 65065, (800) 826-8272.

Master the Art of Tree Farming

Missourians with a strong interest in forest management can become certified as Master Tree Farmers through a series of workshops in February and March. Those who already are Master Tree Farmers can heighten their skills in advanced workshops.

Last year, the Conservation Department and the University Extension Outreach sponsored the Master Tree Farmer program, which comes from Clemson University in South Carolina via satellite. The Master Tree Farmer II Program is the sequel to last year's edition. This year's program contains more in-depth information about how to manage your forest resources to meet diverse objectives. Participants who complete at least six of the seven sessions can be certified as Master Tree Farmers.

The course will be held 6-9 p.m. Tuesday evenings from Feb. 5 through March 19 at University Outreach and Extension Centers. The cost of the course will be $40 to $65, depending on location. Call your local University Outreach and Extension Center to find out if the program is offered in your area and to learn details.

This year's session dates and topics are:

  • Feb. 5-Managing the Forest Site
  • Feb. 12-Forest Stand Prescriptions
  • Feb. 19-Controlling Unwanted Vegetation
  • Feb. 26-Forest Pest Management on Pine and Hardwood Forest Sites
  • March 5-Introduction to Best Management Practices
  • March 12-Forest Measurements
  • March 19-Wildlife Management for Deer and Turkey

Camping, Fishing Shows Break Winter's Spell

Two outdoors-related shows provide relief for Missourians suffering from cabin fever.

The 25th St. Louis RV Show comes to the America's Center Jan. 17-20. The show includes more than 400 recreational vehicles, plus exhibits of camping accessories, campgrounds, resorts and destinations. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Jan. 17, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Jan. 18, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 19, and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Jan. 20. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for those 5 and younger. People age 60 and older will be admitted for $4 on Jan. 18.

The Let's Go Fishing Show comes to Farmington Jan. 25-27. The show will include six boat dealers and 50 booths with all manner of fishing equipment and supplies. Featured events will include crappie fishing seminars by Tim Huffman and appearances by the "Fishin' Magicians" comedy act. Admission is $3 per adult, free for children 12 and younger. Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Jan. 25, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 26, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 27.

Live Fish Travel Through Missouri

The Conservation Department's mobile aquarium is on the move, giving audiences all around Missouri an up-close and personal look at fish and fishing. To catch a show in your area, check the following schedule.

January

  • 18-20 St. Joseph Sports Show

February

  • 1-3 Ozark Mountain Anglers Sports Show, Columbia
  • 12-17 St. Louis Sports Show

March

  • 8-10 St. Joseph Lawn and Garden Show
  • 26-27 Rolla Water Festival

April

  • 19-21 Hands On Outdoor Training and Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops, YMCA of the Ozarks, Potosi

May

  • 8-11 Day with Wildlife, Clinton
  • 17-19 Meramec Kids Fishing Days, Meramec State Park
  • 23-25 Dent County Spring Festival, Salem

June

  • 7-9 Kids/Free Fishing Days, Marshall
  • 17-21 Cub Scout Days Camp, Columbia
  • 28-July 7 Veiled Prophet Fair, St. Louis

July

  • 16-18 Royal Rangers National Camporama, Eagle Rock
  • 26-30 Ozark Empire Fair, Springfield

August

  • 8-12 Town and Country Fair, Washington
  • 14-18 Missouri State Fair, Sedalia
  • 30-Sept. 2 St. Louis County Fair and Air Show, Chesterfield

September

  • 7-13 Southeast Missouri District Fair, Cape Girardeau
  • 19-21 SPLASH, Springfield
  • 27-29 Fall Festival, Liberty

Bowhunters Host Festival

The United Bowhunters of Missouri's annual festival will be held Feb. 1-3 at the Jefferson City Ramada Inn. Guest speakers, vendors, raffles, live and silent auctions, seminars and a taxidermy contest will highlight the event. To register, contact Dennis Harper, UBM, P.O. Box 10587, Gladstone, MO 64118. More information is available at the UBM website.

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