This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004. The Conservation Department made $667,032 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also reimbursed counties $286,452 for land enrolled in the Forest Cropland Program.
Improved Trout Management: Department staff completed a "Plan for Missouri Trout Fishing." This included implementing a new, statewide, minimum length limit for brown trout, and increasing the number and size of trout stocked. Changes to length limits, daily limits and other fishing restrictions are planned for a number of trout areas. Winter trout fishing opportunities in the cities of Columbia, Jefferson City and Jackson will be expanded.
Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring: The Stream Team Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program trained 367 volunteers in 30 Water Quality Monitoring workshops across Missouri during fiscal year 2004. A total of 1,352 data sets on stream surveys, water chemistry and invertebrates were submitted to the sponsoring agencies.
Rural fire departments received help through training and grants. More than $380,988 was distributed to 188 fire departments for the purchase of safety and fire fighting equipment. The Department trained volunteer firefighters on wildland fires.
New Community Assistance Program Agreements: This program creates fishing and boating opportunities at more than 130 lakes and 41 stream access areas around the state. In 2004, new lakes in Macon County, and in the cities of St. Charles, Jennings and Marceline, came under cooperative management, as did river accesses in Lexington and in Pemiscot County.
Sturgeon Management: Department biologists established a program to assist federal authorities in monitoring sturgeon abundance, movement and harvest to protect sturgeon populations in Missouri. Department hatcheries are producing pallid and lake sturgeon to help restore populations of these species in Missouri's big rivers.
Catfish Management: A statewide Catfish Management Plan includes objectives to diversify catfish fishing opportunities and to gather more information to improve management of catfish. Recommendations include establishing separate, statewide daily creel limits for channel catfish and blue catfish; and establishing a special flathead catfish management area on the Missouri River in central Missouri.
More than 400 Missouri communities received help for local tree resources, with $280,000 in grants being allocated directly to 39 municipalities and public schools through the Tree Resource Inventory and Management -- TRIM grant program.
Expanded Deer Hunting Opportunities for firearms hunters by establishing an Urban Portion of the firearms season, increasing the number of counties open during the Antlerless Portion of the season, increasing the number of counties open to Antlerless Deer permits, allowing hunters to purchase and fill any number of Antlerless permits, and expanding the number of resident landowners who qualify for no-cost permits.
Managed Deer Hunt Program: The Department provided additional deer hunting opportunity through the Managed Deer Hunt Program. Overall, 5,713 hunters harvested 2,186 deer during 71 hunts at 39 locations.
Dove Hunting Opportunities: The Conservation Department continues to actively manage for doves on many conservation areas. Mixed plantings of sunflowers, wheat, millet, buckwheat and corn provide varied types of hunting opportunities.
Resource Science Division was involved in more than 150 research, survey and monitoring activities that resulted in 320 technical presentations, 57 workshops and 45 technical publications. These were enhanced by cooperative projects with eight universities and state and federal agencies and supplemented by nearly $1 million in outside funding and more than $6 million in partner support.
Private Land Service's staff made over 4,700 on-site landowner visits to provide technical assistance for fish, forest and wildlife management. A total of 303 workshops and meetings provided conservation information to about 65,000 individuals. In addition, assistance was provided to communities, urban planners and developers in metro areas to help integrate conservation with urban growth.
Improved Deer Management: Antler point restrictions in pilot counties and a focus on harvest of antlerless deer were designed to increase our capacity to manage Missouri's deer population. Pilot efforts in checking deer by telephone show promise for more convenient and efficient tallies of harvest totals.
Department staff provided national leadership in research on trap standards and cable restraints, mourning dove harvest management, coordinated bird monitoring, waterfowl harvest strategy, communicating invasive species challenges, and an assessment of public use on the Missouri River.
Stream Teams: Missouri Stream Team volunteers contributed nearly 100,000 hours to conserving Missouri's stream resources. Stream Teams contributed more than 40,000 hours for litter pickups and more than 13,000 hours of water quality monitoring. The Stash Your Trash Program distributed nearly 270,000 trash bags to Stream Teams and float outfitters, preventing an estimated 1,300 tons of trash from entering Missouri streams.
Forestry - $14,235,963 Conservation Department programs foster a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing 6.3 million seedlings for planting to nearly 13,000 landowners, developing 160 Landowner Forest Stewardship Plans, bringing an additional 29,000 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 - $14,479,161 Conservation Department programs ensure wildlife populations that are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Managed 513,776 acres of public land and conducted programs to monitor game and non-game species, develop wetlands, and restore wildlife.
Fisheries - $10,801,408 Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. In 2003, the Conservation Department sold 1,382,219 resident and non-resident fishing permits and tags of all types to 851,518 people. The agency produced 5,493,761 fish for stocking in various waters. The Conservation Department manages 870 public impoundments totaling 277,425 acres of water.
Resource Science - $10,662,262 Provided the science-based information needed to effectively manage Missouri's natural resources. Resource Science monitors the status of Missouri's forests, fish, and wildlife, recommends conservation actions, evaluates these actions, and reports the results. In addition to surveys of fish and wildlife, more than 200,000 Missourians were contacted to determine their outdoor activity and opinions about conservation programs.
Law Enforcement - $13,294,140 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 1,072 Hunter Education classes, certifying 20,046 students.
Outreach and Education - $15,223,426 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 - $6,027,527 Delivered resource education and technical assistance to private landowners to conserve forest, fish and wildlife resources.
Administration - $2,991,907 Paid for general expenses and equipment, auditor, legal counsel, planning, environmental coordination, local government assistance, summer help and other administrative functions.
Administrative Services and Human Resources - $28,830,801 Paid for human resources, federal reimbursement administration, hunting and fishing permit point-of-sale system, fiscal services, distribution center, print shop, building and grounds maintenance, and information management and technology. Also includes other agency appropriations, department-wide equipment and other essential services.
Land Acquisition, Landowner Assistance, In-Lieu Taxes - $4,656,174 In Lieu of Tax and forest cropland payments, which included levee and drainage district taxes, totaled $953,484 to 113 counties. The four largest payments were to Shannon ($78,347), St. Louis ($50,266), Holt ($32,735), and Howard ($30,890) counties. Since 1980, more than $10.11 million has been returned to Missouri counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.
Construction & Development - $12,939,215 Work included fish hatchery improvements, development of nature centers, river accesses, wetlands, shooting ranges and renovation and repair of facilities statewide.
Design and Development - $10,795,902 Paid for engineering, architectural and construction services.
General Region Expenditures - $3,943,120 Expenditures for the regions that are not specific to any one division.
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