This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Conservation Department’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007. These accomplishments are based on the nine goals established in The Next Generation of Conservation.
We are emphasizing the restoration and management of productive natural communities. We actively managed habitat on 21,752 acres of grassland/prairie, 41,259 acres of marsh/wetlands, 580 acres of glades, 45,000 acres of forest, 9,250 acres of savannas and 15,977 acres of old field.
MDC is leading the implementation of the Missouri Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy (CWS). CWS is a way of approaching conservation planning and implementation that integrates projects and initiatives with conservation partners, other agencies and private landowners. Grants and new money totaled at least $5 million during FY07.
MDC worked with state, federal and non-governmental organization partners to complete and implement invasive species work plans. Staff completed the Missouri Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan and drafted the Missouri Emerald Ash Borer Action Plan and the Emerald Ash Borer “frequently asked questions.”
The Stream Stewardship Trust Fund is available to restore, enhance and/or protect stream systems and associated riparian habitats. The program and funds are administered by the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, and MDC staff apply for grants. In FY07, nine projects costing $690,000 were approved to protect 70.1 acres of stream channel and 276 acres of riparian corridor.
MDC is working cooperatively with several agencies to restore forest, fish and wildlife resources affected by the collapse of the Upper Taum Sauk Dam. Efforts focused on construction of a new stream channel through Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, removal of clay and silt from Lower Taum Sauk Reservoir and the East Fork of the Black River, and flow releases from the lower reservoir. We also sampled habitat, fish, insects and other invertebrates to help evaluate effects on aquatic life and habitat.
MDC joined other resource agencies and AmerenUE in efforts to determine how to design, construct and install a fish barrier net in front of the turbines of Bagnell Dam. There also have been collaborative efforts regarding water-quality enhancement measures to be taken within the operation of Bagnell Dam. Water quality and habitat improvements will be provided for the 82 miles of the Osage River below Bagnell Dam.
To determine the usage of timber from Missouri’s forests, MDC foresters visited every sawmill, post mill, chip mill, pole mill and charcoal plant in Missouri. Determining the sustainability of Missouri’s forest and calculating the economic impact of Missouri’s forest products industry are just a couple of the potential applications of the information obtained.
Oak mast is an important source of fall and winter food for many species of wildlife. The oak mast survey is conducted annually to provide an index for the availability of oak mast, giving an indication of what is in store for mast-dependent forest wildlife during fall and winter. In 2007 we sampled 3,847 oak trees. Mast production was poor this year, particularly in white oaks, which was attributed to the late-spring freeze.
The Missouri Forest Products Association and MDC jointly sponsor logger training courses aimed at educating loggers about forest management principles, introducing new techniques and concepts, and enhancing the safety of timber-harvesting operations. More than 250 loggers have been through the program.
MDC has expanded opportunities for deer hunters. Unlimited antlerless deer permits for many counties, no-cost any-deer and antlerless deer permits for resident landowners, the Managed Deer Hunt Program, and additional urban deer harvest opportunities help maintain deer populations at herd levels desired by landowners and hunters.
The winter catch-and-release season at Bennett Spring, Montauk and Roaring River state parks was expanded from three days to four days per week. In addition, a new winter trout area was established at Spur Pond in Kirksville. Acquisition of the Bohigian Conservation Area provided new public access to 1.26 miles of the Mill Creek Blue Ribbon Trout Area.
MDC, with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, became the Missouri coordinating agency for the National Archery in the Schools Program. The program is designed to teach target archery in fourth- to 12th-grade physical-education classes.
Staff and volunteers provided more than 700 instructional programs in hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting sports to more than 45,000 people. We offered more than 1,000 Hunter Education classes to 29,000 students.
MDC trained more than 565 local firefighters in fire behavior, suppression techniques and safety at no cost to the fire departments or the volunteers. We also provided instructors and logistical support for the Midwest Wildfire Training Academy.
In this pilot year, 33 middle schools with 2,431 students received grants to participate in the Learning Outdoors School Program. We also provided an additional 318 schools with conservation grants for outdoor classrooms, equipment and busing costs for field trips. Grants to schools exceeded $185,000.
More than 1 million visitors experienced our conservation nature centers and shooting-range/outdoor-education centers. These facilities offered a wide variety of programs, with more than 300,000 participants.
MDC, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, provided more than $281,000 in grants to more than 140 volunteer fire departments. These grants help fund protective clothing, equipment and training.
Conservation agents coordinate and support the Share the Harvest program with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, local charitable organizations and local meat processors. During FY07, approximately 6,580 hunters donated 322,500 pounds of venison.
Through the Community Assistance Program (CAP) and the closely related Corporate and Agency Partnership Program (CAPP), MDC enters into agreements (usually 25-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 114 partners for the cooperative management of 146 public lakes (9,236 acres of water), 41 stream-access areas, four lake-access areas and six aquatic-resource education ponds.
Field staff provided service through approximately 20,062 rural and urban landowner contacts, including 9,665 on-site landowner visits. Staffers assisted landowners with habitat management plans. Staffers also answered 4,634 requests for wildlife nuisance and/or damage assistance, including 906 on-site visits.
We responded to 7,579 requests for watershed, floodplain, riparian corridor and stream or lake management information and technical assistance on streams or lakes. We made 1,435 on-site visits and wrote 182 recommendation letters or management plans. Staff conducted 39 stream or lake management workshops attended by 1,176 people. We also coordinated or participated in 69 watershed-focused resource management projects.
MDC designed and initiated the Conservation Equipment Grant Program. The program targeted organizations that assist MDC with delivering private-land habitat programs and technical assistance to private landowners. We awarded approximately $100,000 in grants to 12 separate organizations.
We made a comprehensive update to the Department’s online conservation atlas. Information about the features, facilities and recreational opportunities available on each of 1,000-plus conservation areas owned or cooperatively managed by MDC is available online. A companion regulations database, linked to the atlas, provides information on regulations and seasons relating to hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor activities on each area.
We improved horse trails on several MDC areas. The improvements have eliminated hazards to riders, provided for year-round horse-trail riding and reduced some erosion resulting from heavy public use.
We conducted habitat-management activities on approximately 150,000 acres of public land. Staff spent nearly 132,000 hours on area maintenance.
What the Money Bought—Fiscal Year 2007
County Assistance Payments—$1,396,404 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 $12.42 million has been paid to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes.
Capital Improvements—$22,855,287 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—$11,908,332 Managed 924 lakes and 40 stream management areas for public fishing. More than 833,543 people bought fishing permits, making fishing one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. Fish hatcheries stocked 9.6 million fish in public lakes and streams.
Forestry—$15,410,871 Fostered a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing 4.7 million seedlings for planting to nearly 12,000 landowners, developing 152 Landowner Forest Stewardship Plans, bringing an additional 38,336 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—$16,074,091 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—$15,383,196 Sustained and nourished Missourians’ connection to the outdoors by providing educational materials, schoolteacher contacts, outdoor skills programs, the Missouri Conservationist magazine, web-based information, books, videos, hunter education, staffed shooting ranges and conservation nature centers.
Private Land Services—$8,775,673 Helped private landowners to achieve long-term conservation of natural resources and their land-use objectives. Delivered nearly $1.1 million in cost-share funds to 607 private landowners; provided on-site technical assistance to 9,665 private landowners; improved habitat for quail and grassland songbirds on more than 13,000 acres of private land; helped landowners enroll almost 5,800 acres into the Wetland Reserve Program; and assisted 4,634 private landowners in controlling nuisance wildlife.
Protection—$14,181,263 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 735,000 people. Coordinated the Share the Harvest Program where more than 6,580 deer hunters donated more than 322,000 pounds of venison to less fortunate Missourians. Conservation agents, along with 2,200 volunteer instructors, conducted 1,066 hunter education classes, certifying 25,000 students.
Resource Science—$12,075,236 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—$3,296,676 Provided regional public contact offices.
Administrative Services and Human Resources—$28,646,718 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—$12,188,760 Provided engineering, architectural, surveying and construction services for conservation programs and maintenance of conservation areas and facilities.
Administration—$2,550,447 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
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler