This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Missouri Department of Conservation’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009. These accomplishments are based on the nine goals established in The Next Generation of Conservation.
In FY09 we completed about 103,000 acres of quail and grassland bird habitat work on conservation areas throughout the state. On conservation areas designated as Quail Emphasis Areas, more than 19,000 acres of quail and grassland bird habitat was completed. In addition, we have established 34 private-land quail focus areas throughout the state in places where landowners are managing their property for quail.
At the end of FY09 there were 181 natural areas totaling 70,677 acres. These areas represent the best examples of healthy natural communities within the state.
Three species were removed from the state endangered-species list because they were no longer threatened with extinction: bald eagle, barn owl and Western fox snake.
MDC evaluated aquatic habitat availability and monitored water quality in the East Fork Black River. This work was conducted in preparation for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s relicensing of the Taum Sauk Pumped Storage Project. The information will be used to understand and minimize the potential effects of Taum Sauk Project operation on the aquatic life of the East Fork Black River.
The Missouri Stream Team Program celebrated a 20th birthday and signed on its 4,000th team. Last year volunteers spent 137,488 hours working on their adopted streams.
The Stream Stewardship Trust Fund is available to restore, enhance and/or protect stream systems and associated riparian habitats. The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation administers the program and funds, and MDC applies for grants. In FY09, 15 projects costing $1.1 million were approved to protect 83.2 acres of stream channel and 615.8 acres of riparian corridor.
MDC, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, provided $381,886 in grants to 178 volunteer fire departments. These grants help fund protective clothing, equipment and training. We also provided equipment to fire departments through two federal programs. With the Federal Excess Property Program, we obtained equipment valued at $316,695. The new Fire Fighter Program obtained equipment valued at $11,591,225.
Through the Community Assistance Program and the closely related Corporate and Agency Partnership Program, MDC enters into agreements (usually 25-year) with cities, counties, state and federal agencies, businesses, foundations, schools and colleges. Under these agreements, MDC provides fisheries management at existing lakes and ponds, and cooperatively develops and maintains facilities for anglers and boaters at lake and stream areas. MDC has agreements with 116 partners for the cooperative management of 166 public lakes, 42 stream access areas, four lake access areas and six aquatic resource education ponds.
MDC coordinates the Share the Harvest program with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, local charitable organizations and local meat processors. During FY09, 4,465 hunters donated 249,156 pounds of venison.
By way of endorsing a third-party U.S. Forest Service Hazard Mitigation grant to the Southwest Resource Conservation and Development Program, MDC supported a two-year effort beginning in FY08 to promote wildfire prevention in southwestern Missouri. This area was hit severely by the January 2007 ice storm, and the resulting heavy, woody debris in the forests makes wildfire suppression more difficult and hazardous to firefighters.
The Forest Health Program is a cooperative effort among MDC and other state and federal agencies to conserve Missouri’s forest resources by monitoring and evaluating forest health and providing forest-health management information to Missouri residents. Monitoring activities document and evaluate ongoing threats to forest health.
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. Thus far, 308 loggers have been through the program in Missouri.
We provided more than 2,400 programs with instruction in hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting sports. More than 126,000 people took part in these programs. We offered about 900 Hunter Education classes, certified 24,733 students and began an online Hunter Education training module. More than 130,000 visitors attended programs or practiced firearms and archery shooting at our five staffed ranges.
MDC—in collaboration with the Conservation Federation of Missouri—is the Missouri coordinating agency for the NASP. In FY09, 13,776 students from 82 schools experienced this international-style target-archery program taught in fourth to 12th-grade physical education classes.
In FY09, more than 60 urban lakes were managed for fishing. More than 158,000 keeper-sized fish were stocked in these lakes; this included almost 97,000 channel catfish, more than 46,000 rainbow trout and 15,000 brown trout.
More than 30,600 Missouri children were connected with nature through Discover Nature—Schools instructional units and grants. The middle school aquatic unit was adopted by 72 schools. The elementary unit, Nature Unleashed, was piloted by 21 schools. Grants supporting the two school units totaled $114,000. Conservation field trip grants helped 20,273 students get outdoors. Outdoor classroom grants were awarded to 34 schools. Conservation grants to schools exceeded $238,500.
About 900,000 visitors explored the trails, programs and exhibits at our conservation nature centers and education centers throughout the state.
Grow Native! is a program of the Missouri departments of Conservation and Agriculture, with help from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve. A focus in FY09 has been the education of civil engineers and contractors in St. Louis, where an emphasis is being placed on the ability of native plants to slow stormwater runoff and improve water quality. Also, a survey shows sales of native plants in Missouri increased 70 percent between 2003 and 2008.
Nearly $1 million in cost-share funds went to 523 private landowners to implement beneficial habitat management practices for fish, forest and wildlife resources. The funds helped install 921 individual conservation practices, impacting nearly 12,000 acres.
MDC provided timely and responsive service through 63,986 rural and urban landowner contacts, including more than 16,171 on-site visits. We also answered 4,488 requests for wildlife nuisance assistance, including 1,038 on-site visits.
We developed about 35 partnerships with federal, state and non-governmental organizations. These relationships helped MDC enhance technical, financial and equipment support to landowners interested in improving fish, forest and wildlife. For example, MDC assisted Missouri USDA with developing and applying $150 million in Farm Bill conservation programs, including more than $2 million in staff time.
We conducted forest and woodland habitat improvement on 21,078 acres of state land. This included thinning young trees on 3,052 acres, post-sale work on 1,048 acres, prescribed fires on 10,922 acres and harvest of 6,056 acres.
MDC conducted habitat management on approximately 187,000 acres of public land, with an additional 120 miles of edge habitat. We spent nearly 460,000 hours on area and equipment maintenance.
Volunteers monitored, maintained and helped to enhance trails. In FY09, 44 volunteers or groups of volunteers reported spending 1,130 hours on conservation area trails.
We conduct a variety of scientifically sound, unbiased and representative efforts each year to understand public opinions, expectations and recreation participation. This information guides decisions about regulations and fish, forest and wildlife management. In FY09 there were 62 activities that involved 87,226 people. These included public surveys, focus groups, public meetings and ombudsman contacts.
Internal auditors issued six internal audits to ensure that public funds were expended in a responsible manner. There were no major findings.
FY09 was the third year of tracking accomplishments of The Next Generation of Conservation, MDC’s strategic plan. The plan identifies nine goals, 28 results we want to achieve and 61 specific actions. For each of the action items, performance measures and staff responsible for reporting are identified.
County Assistance Payments–$1,453,573 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 $13.79 million has been paid to Missouri counties in lieu of real estate taxes.
Capital Improvements–$21,777,980 Work included fish hatchery improvements, river access development, wetland renovations, shooting range construction, nature center improvements, land acquisition transactions and renovation and repair of facilities statewide.
Fisheries—$12,563,006 Maintained and improved sport fish populations, aquatic biodiversity and aquatic habitats. Managed 902 impoundments and stream areas for public fishing, and provided stream and lake management assistance to almost 8,600 private landowners. Stocked approximately 5 million fish in public lakes and streams.
Forestry–$16,051,758 Fostered a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing about 4.5 million seedlings for planting to nearly 12,000 landowners, provided forestry assistance on more than 100,000 acres and facilitated EQIP projects totaling more than $725,000 on private land, managing 438,700 acres of public forest land, monitoring insect and disease threats and facilitating development of the state’s forest industry.
Wildlife–$16,338,979 Worked toward ensuring wildlife populations are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Managed more than 525,000 acres of public land and implemented programs to maintain and restore natural communities and wildlife diversity across Missouri’s landscape.
Outreach and Education–$15,186,325 Sustained Missourians’ connection to the outdoors through more than 1 million visitors to conservation nature centers and shooting-range/outdoor-education centers, nearly 500,000 subscribers to the Missouri Conservationist magazine, Web-based information, grants to schools exceeding $238,500, conservation curriculums for schools, outdoor skills programs and hunter education.
Private Land Services–$7,630,877 Helped private landowners to achieve long-term natural resource conservation objectives. Provided service through 63,986 rural and urban landowner contacts; affected 327,181 acres through technical assistance to landowners; provided habitat management workshops to 34,959 attendees; assisted USDA with enrolling 14,000 acres in the Conservation Reserve Program SAFE practice; and assisted 4,488 private landowners in controlling nuisance wildlife.
Protection–$13,505,810 Paid for law enforcement in every county as well as resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by conservation agents who directly contacted more than 675,000 people. Coordinated the Share the Harvest Program where close to 5,000 deer hunters donated 249,156 pounds of venison to less fortunate Missourians. Conservation agents, along with 1,788 volunteer instructors, conducted 937 hunter education classes, certifying nearly 25,000 students.
Resource Science–$11,392,711 Provided the science-based information needed to effectively manage Missouri’s natural resources. Resource Science monitors the status of Missouri’s fish, forests, plants and wildlife, recommends conservation actions, evaluates these actions and reports the results. In addition to surveys of fish and wildlife, tens of thousands of Missourians were contacted to determine their outdoor activities and opinions about conservation programs.
Regional Public Contact Offices–$3,583,989 Provided regional public contact offices.
Administrative Services and Human Resources–$30,661,827 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–$12,134,219 Provided engineering, architectural, surveying and construction services for conservation programs and maintenance of conservation areas and facilities.
Administration–$3,349,974 Paid for audits, legal counsel and the coordination of strategic planning, environmental policy development, cultural resource reviews, public involvement and river basin management.
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