Conservation requires up-to-date knowledge about the status of wildlife populations and habitat. Not only do we need to know what we've got, we also have to be able to forecast and fend off threats to our ecosystems.
Mussels provide a good example. Current conditions threaten mussels in many Missouri streams. Researchers are trying to discover the cause of native mussel decline. At the same time, they are experimenting with culturing native mussels to keep species from going extinct.
The Conservation Department maintains a research facility in Columbia to monitor and improve Missouri's forests, fish and wildlife. Its efforts are supplemented by numerous "field staff," which include conservation professionals, university students and volunteer naturalists. Its knowledge base is further enhanced by studies being conducted by similar agencies in other states or by federal resource protection agencies.
The core philosophy guiding the Conservation Department's management and research efforts is biodiversity. Missouri is unique among states in that it represents a merging of ecosystems from the north, south, east and west. We want to maintain our natural wealth by keeping Missouri habitable and desirable for all native species.
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