Annual Report Fiscal Year 2004–2005
This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Conservation Department’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005. These accomplishments are based on the three components of the Department’s mission statement
“To protect and manage the fish, forest and wildlife resources of the state.”
Bagnell Dam/AmerenUE Settlement: The settlement agreement asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to adopt specific conditions to protect the fishery and wetland resources affected by the relicensing of Bagnell Dam/AmerenUE power generation utility. If accepted, the benefits to the natural resources, and the multi-billion dollar Lake of the Ozarks tourism industry, will extend for the 40-year life of the new license. At Lake of the Ozarks, fish kills will be minimized, critical habitats protected and adequate water levels retained. Water quality and habitat improvements will be provided for the 82 miles of the Osage River below Bagnell Dam.
Mississippi River Sturgeon Regulations: In cooperation with Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, the Department established new regulations on the commercial harvest of shovelnose sturgeon in the Mississippi River. These regulations are designed to protect the sturgeon population from overharvest due to the worldwide demand for caviar.
Catfish Harvest Management Study: In 2004, a 5-year catfish harvest management study was initiated to learn about flathead and blue catfish ecology and population dynamics. In 2005, more than 8,000 catfish were captured, tagged and released; it is the largest such study ever conducted. Monitoring population and size-class changes will provide better information to manage these popular sportfish. The study will also look at spawning behavior and catfish movement.
Healthy Forests: Over 53,000 acres of forestland were actively managed during the 2004–05 fiscal year. Missouri’s public forests are managed to promote forest health and sustainability. Additionally, managed forests provide opportunities for hiking, equestrian use, birding, hunting and numerous other activities.
Conserving All Wildlife in Missouri: The Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy was completed and submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is a federal requirement that will allow Missourians to obtain additional federal funds. The strategy describes the Department’s plans for conserving native plants and animals and the habitats they depend upon.
Quail and Grassland Bird Habitat: The Department emphasized restoration of quail and grassland bird habitats on Department lands, implemented regional quail/grassland bird action plans, and identified prospective private landowner cooperatives within quail focus areas. Quail and bird population monitoring was implemented to evaluate management actions.