This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2003.The Conservation Department made $668,907 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also reimbursed counties $291,824 for land enrolled in the Forest Cropland Program.
- Continued offering landowner deer and turkey permits for qualifying nonresidents at reduced price. Beginning with the spring 2001 turkey season, qualifying nonresident landowners were able to purchase deer and turkey hunting permits at reduced prices.To qualify, nonresidents must own a minimum of 75 contiguous acres within a single management unit.
- Protection agents made 204,395 resource contacts, noted 25,378 wildlife violations, issued 3,800 written warnings and made 7,581 arrests. Agents reported teaching hunter safety to 37,485 students. In addition, agents attended public events, displayed 1,060 exhibits, made 9,864 appearances on radio/TV programs.
- Operation Game Thief logged 539 calls, resulting in 142 convictions. Informants were paid $11,300 in rewards leading to arrests of Wildlife Code violators. Also, 1,826 hunters donated more than 96,595 pounds of venison to the needy through the “Share the Harvest” program.
- Managed Deer Hunt Program. The Department provided additional deer hunting opportunity through the Managed Deer Hunt Program. Overall, 5,671 hunters harvested 2,099 deer during 71 hunts at 36 locations.
- Rural fire departments received help through training and grants. More than $200,000 was distributed to 138 fire departments for the purchase of safety and fire- fighting equipment.The Department trained volunteer firefighters on natural cover fires.
- Expanded Dove Hunting Opportunities. The Conservation Department has quadrupled the number of specially managed fields to provide additional opportunities for dove hunters on Department-owned conservation areas.
- The Natural Areas system was expanded by more than 2,300 acres and now contains more than 180 areas with 59,600 acres protecting the best examples of Missouri's terrestrial and aquatic natural communities.
- Expanded deer hunting opportunities for firearms hunters by making all Any- Deer permits valid statewide, increasing the number of units where Second Bonus permits are valid, and increasing the number of units open during the Antlerless- Only portion.
- CWD Testing: Department personnel tested approximately 6,000 deer, taken from one-third of Missouri's counties during the 2002 Firearms Deer Season, for chronic wasting disease. All tests were negative, meaning CWD was not detected. Testing will continue through the 2005 Firearms Deer Season.
- Private Land Service's field staff made more than 5,000 on-site landowner visits to provide technical assistance in 2002. In addition, numerous habitat management workshops and field days were conducted across the state to help private landowners achieve their land use objectives while enhancing the conservation of Missouri's natural resources.
- Walleye Restoration in the St. Francis River. Beginning March 1, 2003, anglers were allowed to harvest walleye in the St. Francis River above Wappapello Lake. Starting in 1996, the Conservation Department began a walleye restoration project by stocking nearly 200,000 small walleye in the river above Wappapello Lake. Walleye fishing in the upper St. Francis River had been limited to catch-and-release only.
- St. Louis City Lake Renovations. Lake renovations were completed at Forest Park and Carondelet Park. Jefferson Lake in Forest Park and Horseshoe Lake in Carondelet Park, both public fishing lakes,were deepened to provide improved fish habitat. Jefferson Lake also received an aeration system and a fishing platform. Four youth only fishing ponds and a successional wetland were created in the hatchery area of Forest Park.
- Missouri River Accesses. Several accesses in the Kansas City area were developed through the Community Assistance Program.They are at LaBenite Park, Riverfront Park and Fort Osage. In addition, Stump Island Access in central Missouri was completed. Significant progress was made on other Missouri River access projects through CAPs, including Pelican Island near St. Louis, Lexington and Parkville.
- Lost Valley Hatchery staff raised more than 17,000 endangered Topeka shiners. The Department demonstrated for the first time that it can successfully raise a large number of these endangered fish.As a result of this success MDC will collect Missouri fish from the two remaining populations in Sugar Creek in Harrison County and Moniteau Creek in Cooper County.All fish raised will be used for re-introduction into the state.
- Bat Management Plan: The MDC and other partners began developing a bat conservation plan for Missouri. The plan will include: ecological considerations for the different species in Missouri, strategies for population monitoring, recommendations for managing caves and mines and surface habitats, research needs, urban bat issues and public health, partnerships, and education.
- Increased gypsy moth detection efforts. Conducted trapping for gypsy moths in 27 counties. Increased number of traps from 2,100 to 4,500 traps.
- Conducted the Third Youth-Only Spring Turkey Season. During the special, two-day turkey season for resident youths age 15-years and younger, 19,000 participants harvested 3,660 birds, of which 72 percent were mature. There were no reported accidents.
- Conducted the Second Youth-Only portion of the firearms deer hunting season. During the two-day portion of the 2002 season, nearly 40,000 youth hunters harvested 7,727 deer. There were no reported accidents.
- Coordinated efforts of 2,200 volunteers who donated time, expertise and labor to monitoring and protecting streams and to conservation projects and education.
- Combined the Fish Forest and Wildlife Research sections and many Natural History programs into the new Resource Science Division. Also added a Wildlife Diversity Section to the Wildlife Division. These changes better serve non-game research and management, progress on threatened species, protection of Natural Areas and citizen groups committed to these efforts.
What the Money Bought - Fiscal Year 2003
Forestry - $14,903,199
Conservation Department programs foster a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing 5.53 million seedlings for planting to nearly 13,185 landowners, developing 94 Landowner Forest Stewardship Plans, bringing an additional 13,733 acres under total resource management,managing 438,700 acres of public forest land, developing the state's forest industry and conducting research on trees and forests.
Wildlife - $15,930,146
Conservation Department programs ensure wildlife populations that are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Managed 501,066 acres of public land and conducted programs to monitor game and non-game species, develop wetlands, restore wildlife and control wildlife damage.
Fisheries - $14,293,493
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. In 2002, the Conservation Department sold 1,386,519 resident and non-resident fishing permits and tags of all types to 846,155 people.The agency produced 7,294,188 fish for stocking in various waters.The Conservation Department manages 849 public impoundments totaling 277,055 acres of water.
Natural History - $2,438,957
Coordinated and provided 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 - $15,191,299
Paid for law enforcement, resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by 167 conservation agents. Conservation agents, along with 2,200 volunteer instructors, conducted 1,062 classes and certified 32,328 students.
Outreach and Education - $13,169,371
Sustained and nourished Missourians' connection to the outdoors by providing educational materials, schoolteacher contacts, outdoor skills programs, the Missouri Conservationist magazine, TV show, books, videos, informational programs, staffed shooting ranges and Conservation Nature Centers.
Private Land Services - $6,172,255
Newly established division provides resource education and technical assistance to private landowners to conserve forest, fish and wildlife resources.
Administration - $3,337,572
Paid for general region expenses and equipment, auditor, legal counsel, planning, environmental coordination, local government assistance, summer help and other administrative functions.
Administrative Services and Human Resources- $30,079,223
Paid for human resources, federal reimbursement administration,hunting and fishing permit point of- sale system,fiscal services, aviation services,fleet management,building and grounds maintenance, information management and technology and other essential services.
Land Acquisition, Landowner Assistance, In-Lieu Taxes - $2,016,669
In lieu of tax and forest cropland payments, which included levee and drainage district taxes, totaled $960,731 to 113 counties.The four largest payments were to Shannon ($76,165.02), St. Louis ($50,202.04),Howard ($39,403.10), and Holt ($32,734.64) counties. Since 1980,more than $9.44 million has been returned to Missouri counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.
Construction & Development - $14,771,828
Paid for outstate service centers, hatchery improvements,wetland development, river access site development and other construction.
Design and Development - $8,870,367
Paid for engineering, construction administration and architecture.