seek a better understanding of how wetlands work to benefit wildlife and people.
That job has gotten easier with science-based research and a decade of wetland renovation projects. However, attempting to manage highly erratic water flow in an altered landscape, as well as predicting and attempting to reduce invasive species, is a never-ending mission.
“One of the challenges for conservation area managers is that plant and animal communities never sit still. There is always a group of species on the rise while others are on the fall,” Nelson says. “Management is the art of trying to tweak the system in a way to get a reliable response to benefit public use while serving resource needs. For every one of our actions there is a response. Some of these can be anticipated while others cannot. No doubt nature will always have a new challenge for us tomorrow.”
Gardner echoes Nelson’s acknowledgment of the tough job of managing Missouri’s wetlands in the future. “In managing wetlands, challenges will become even greater. We’ve already seen that in 2011, with elevated river levels and local drought conditions. Continued population growth and changing land use also influence our wetlands and how they function. It is up to us to find a balance so these wetlands will continue to benefit people and wildlife.”
But Gardner is proud of where state wetlands have been and where they are going. “Generations of Missourians have enjoyed these for more than 50 years, and it’s our job to ensure these areas are here for their kids and grandkids to enjoy.”
Visit Missouri’s Public Wetlands
Enhancing Missouri’s wetland areas continues to be a primary goal of MDC. These areas provide critical habitat for migratory and resident wildlife, as well as creating excellent opportunities for a host of outdoor recreation activities. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/node/4222.
- B.K. Leach Memorial Conservation Area
- Bob Brown Conservation Area
- Duck Creek Conservation Area
- Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area
- Fountain Grove Conservation Area
- Four Rivers Conservation Area
- Grand Pass Conservation Area
- Marais Temps Clair Conservation Area
- Montrose Conservation Area
- Nodaway Valley Conservation Area
- Otter Slough Conservation Area
- Settle’s Ford Conservation Area
- Schell Osage Conservation Area
- Ted Shanks Conservation Area
- Ten Mile Pond Conservation Area
Ducks Unlimited (DU), a key partner in wetland conservation, also celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. DU is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats.
“The Missouri Department of Conservation and Ducks Unlimited are natural partners. Our missions emerged from the visions of conservation leaders in 1937, and it is