This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Conservation Department’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006. These accomplishments are based on the three components of the Department’s mission statement.
New Strategic Plan: The Missouri Conservation Commission approved a new strategic plan titled The Next Generation of Conservation to ensure that the Department of Conservation will continue to conserve Missouri’s fish, forest and wildlife resources for the benefit of the state’s citizens. The plan identifies nine goals and specific actions that MDC will take to work with Missourians to achieve.
Taum Sauk Restoration: After the failure of the upper reservoir dam at the Taum Sauk hydroelectric facility in December 2005, staff have collaborated with DNR and project consultants on the design of the new stream channel within the state park and dealt with flow issues associated with the lower reservoir recovery activities. Additional work is underway to resolve habitat restoration and mitigation issues associated with the removal of sediment from the lower reservoir and East Fork of the Black River.
Fish Passage Improvements: MDC has led efforts to replace low-water crossings with clear-span bridge structures at selected locations in south-central Missouri. These efforts were designed to improve fish passage for the Niangua darter, a federally and state-listed species of conservation concern, and other native aquatic species. County partners and their residents have also benefited through enhanced bridge stability and safety and reductions in the time and expense of county crews in debris removal and bridge repairs.
Cost-share Funds for Private Landowners: Approximately 803 private landowners received nearly $1.3 million in cost-share funds to implement habitat management practices for fish, forest and wildlife resources. The funds helped install 1,431 individual conservation practices.
Stream Team Growth: The 3,000th team was added, and there were large-scale cleanups on the Missouri, Blue, Meramec and several Ozark rivers. Adopt-An-Access activities have doubled, and we continue to collaborate with canoe outfitters statewide to provide trash bags for floaters.
Dove Hunting: MDC has expanded the management of conservation areas to provide dove-hunting opportunities in more than 70 counties.
Connecting Urban Residents With Forests: MDC collaborated with the U.S. Forest Service, Kansas Forestry Department and Bridging the Gap to launch the Heartland Tree Alliance. It was formed to connect Kansas City residents with their urban and community forests through participation in volunteer projects.
Educational Unit Developed: The first educational unit, “Conserving Missouri’s Aquatic Ecosystems,” was developed for sixth to eighth grades for the Learning Outdoor schools program.
Deer Hunting: Significant changes simplified statewide deer regulations and improved our ability to manage deer numbers. Changes included county-level management, unlimited antlerless permits in most counties, four-point antler restriction and an urban counties portion of the firearms season.
Community Assistance: Through the Community Assistance Programs (CAP) and the closely related Corporate and Agency Partnership Program (CAPP), MDC entered into agreements (usually 25 per year) with cities, counties, state and federal agencies, businesses, foundations, schools and colleges to provide fisheries management at existing lakes and ponds and to cooperatively develop and maintain facilities for anglers and boaters at lake and stream areas. MDC has agreements with 113 partners for the cooperative management of 145 public lakes, 41 stream-access areas, four lake-access areas and six aquatic resource-education ponds.
County Assistance Payments—$1,396,316 Included payments to Missouri’s counties for levee and drainage district taxes, forest cropland payments, payments in lieu of real estate taxes and county aid road trust payments. Since 1980, more than $11.75 million has been paid to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes.
Capital Improvements—$31,881,332 Work included fish hatchery improvements, development of nature centers, river accesses, wetlands, shooting ranges, land acquisition transactions and renovation and repair of facilities statewide.
Fisheries—$11,649,737 Managed 906 lakes and 40 stream management areas for public fishing. More than 840,000 people bought fishing permits, making fishing one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. Fish hatcheries stocked 7.6 million fish in public lakes and streams.
Forestry—$15,168,275 Fostered a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing 5 million seedlings for planting to nearly 13,000 landowners, developing 180 Landowner Forest Stewardship Plans, bringing an additional 29,000 acres under total resource management, managing 438,700 acres of public forest land, monitoring insect and disease threats and facilitating development of the state’s forest industry.
Wildlife—$16,219,278 Worked toward ensuring wildlife populations are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Managed 526,198 acres of public land and implemented programs to maintain and restore natural communities and wildlife diversity across Missouri’s landscape.
Outreach and Education—$16,232,568 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—$7,908,722 Helped private landowners to achieve long-term conservation of natural resources and their land-use objectives. Delivered nearly $1.3 million in cost-share funds to 803 private landowners; provided on-site technical assistance to more than 7,000 private landowners; improved habitat for quail and grassland songbirds on more than 10,700 acres of private land; helped landowners enroll almost 6,400 acres into the Wetland Reserve Program; and assisted almost 4,000 private landowners in controlling nuisance wildlife.
Protection—$13,640,869 Paid for law enforcement in every county as well as resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by 167 conservation agents who directly contacted more than 625,000 people. Coordinated the Share the Harvest Program where more than 5,000 deer hunters donated more than 267,000 pounds of venison to less fortunate Missourians. Conservation agents, along with 2,200 volunteer instructors, conducted 1,024 hunter education classes, certifying 27,003 students.
Resource Science—$12,095,061 Provided the science-based information needed to effectively manage Missouri’s natural resources. Resource Science monitors the status of Missouri’s fish, forests 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 activities and opinions about conservation programs.
Regional Public Contact Offices—$4,345,058 Provided regional public contact offices.
Administrative Services and Human Resources—$29,962,307 Paid for human resources, federal reimbursement administration, hunting and fishing permit point-of-sale system, fiscal services, distribution center, print shop, fleet management, vehicle and equipment maintenance centers and information management and technology. Also includes other agency appropriations, Department-wide equipment and other essential services.
Design and Development—$11,526,041 Provided engineering, architectural, surveying and construction services for conservation programs and maintenance of conservation areas and facilities.
Administration—$2,361,266 Paid for audits, legal counsel and the coordination of strategic planning, environmental policy development, cultural resource reviews, public involvement and river basin management.
Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Circulation - Laura Scheuler