Every Cog and Wheel
the Missouri Wildlife Code and the 36 species that are listed, or are candidates for listing, as threatened or endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For a complete list, download a PDF at www.MissouriConservation.org.
The Data at Work
On the other side of the ledger, data goes out through a number of channels. Through the environmental review process, construction project managers may request information to determine if species of special concern have been documented near the project site. For example, a pipeline company may propose a potential route for a new pipeline. The Department’s review of the route will allow builders to avoid some sites or choose a more appropriate time or construction technique to avoid damage to rare species or habitats.
When conflicts are identified early in the planning process, the damage to rare species can often be avoided or minimized and the development proceeds without delays. Currently, projects requesting environmental review number about 2,700 each year. In addition to identifying possible conflicts with rare species or habitats, the Department may respond by including a number of best management practices related to a particular activity. These guidelines could help minimize erosion and other harmful environmental effects. In some cases, simply adjusting the timing of a project can avoid problems. Work near a cave entrance can be conducted during the months when threatened bats are not using the cave. Work at a site with rare annual plants can be done after the plants’ seeds have already been produced.
To receive a heritage review, project planners can contact the Policy Coordination unit located in the Department’s headquarters or visit our website for more information.
The Department uses the Natural Heritage data to assure that its own land management and construction projects are not displacing rare species. Knowing where pockets of biodiversity are located, planned developments have been relocated to avoid harming them. Land management has been redirected to improve the prospects for particular rare species, once they are known to occur on a tract. Other state agencies as well as the Mark Twain National Forest and national wildlife refuges use the Natural Heritage data in a similar manner. The data are also used to recommend public and private lands for voluntary designation as state natural areas, to perpetuate the character of Missouri’s native landscapes.
While we don’t completely understand the roles of many species in Missouri’s landscapes, it would be foolish to allow our use