flood risks for communities and farmland downriver.
Following the devastating flood of 1993, some badly damaged areas were purchased as public lands and restored to wetlands, such as the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge. These restored areas provide not only wetland wildlife habitat, but additional water storage during times of peak flow and flooding.
Partnerships Make for Wetland Conservation Success
The renovation and expansion of Missouri’s public wetlands requires funding and partnerships as diverse as the wetland habitats themselves. Waterfowl hunters continue to support wetland conservation by purchasing hunting permits, “duck stamps,” and by paying federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition. In addition, funding for wetland habitat restoration in Missouri also comes from permit sales and the one-eighth of 1 percent conservation sales tax. The dedicated sales tax provides consistent, long-term funding for the conservation of our fish, forests and wildlife resources and preserves Missouri’s outdoor heritage.
Key partnerships helped achieve a partner-driven wetland management plan for Missouri. MDC partners with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ducks Unlimited, Missouri Waterfowl Association and many others. The tireless efforts of many conservation-minded citizens, local duck clubs and many other partners have also helped to make wetland restoration a reality.
Since 1989, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) has also provided funding to improve and expand Missouri’s wetlands. To date, more than $14 million in project funding has conserved more than 86,000 acres of wetland habitat in the Show-Me State. Many partnerships that include state agencies, private landowners, corporations and other non government organizations continue to work together to develop projects to conserve Missouri’s wildlife habitat through NAWCA grants.
The Farm Bill’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Conservation Reserve Program also help Missouri’s landowners protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial support to help landowners restore wetlands. Missouri is one of the top ten states in the nation in acres of wetlands restored through the WRP. Currently, there are more than 140,000 acres of WRP in Missouri, with the majority of these acres enrolled in permanent easements. These wetlands will remain on the Missouri landscape indefinitely.
The Future of Our Wetlands
As human populations increase, the pressure for converting wetlands to less “natural” uses will continue. To support the conservation of our remaining wetlands, we must continue to