really start to work on them.”
Since that historic night at the Tiger Hotel, a series of unprecedented conservation and wildlife restoration efforts have been accomplished. “Not in their wildest imaginations could those early sportsmen have imagined what has been achieved,” says Dave Murphy, executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. “On the same landscape, at the same time that our human population has doubled, we’ve seen the restoration of wild turkey, deer, geese, river otters, raccoons and black bass, and every kind of game species that you can imagine.”
Missouri’s Unique Citizen Led Conservation Legacy
Missouri conservation is unique—unique in its history, unique in the way it derives its authority and funding from citizens, and unique in the passion and commitment of Missourians to perpetuate this legacy. The Show-Me State’s conservation efforts have a broad management base giving consideration to forests, fish and all species of wildlife.
The Conservation Commission serves Missourians by ensuring citizens have healthy forests, fish and wildlife throughout the state. To achieve conservation successes the Commission and Department staff strive to promote cooperation between the Department, landowners and the public through scientific information and mutual understanding. Conservation successes such as stable deer and turkey populations indicate this partnership and approach has worked in Missouri.
The Department’s director is hired by an unpaid, citizen Conservation Commission, rather than being appointed by the governor. This provision provides the Department with a great amount of stability and permanence that benefit citizens and Missouri’s fish, forest and wildlife resources.
Over the past 75 years, the Conservation Department has had only eight directors. The current director of the Department is Robert L. Ziehmer. His predecessors include I. T. Bode, 1937–1957; William Towell, 1957– 1966; Carl Noren, 1967–1979; Larry Gale, 1979–1988; Jerry Presley, 1988–1997; Jerry Conley, 1997–2002; and John Hoskins, 2002–2009.
The Commission is made up of four commissioners, with no more than two from the same political party. The governor appoints commissioners for six-year unpaid terms. The Commission serves as the Department’s policy maker, approves Wildlife Code regulations, and oversees strategic planning, budget development and major expenditures.
The first members of the Commission were E. Sydney Stephens, A. P. Greensfelder, Wilbur C. Buford and John F. Case. Current Commissioners include Don R. Johnson of Festus; James T. Blair, IV of St. Louis; Don C. Bedell of Sikeston; and Becky L. Plattner of Grand Pass.
Design for Conservation
Forty years after their initial achievement, the Conservation Federation of Missouri decided