Private Landowners: The Key to Conservation Success
are all a major part of our work facilitating more than 100 timber sales annually, totaling more than 5 million board feet—enough to build about 200 average-sized homes. Department-led landowner workshops and other education programs also contributed to more than half of the forest management plans written by Missouri forest owners last year.”
MDC’s George O. White Nursery fosters a growing forest resource by distributing about 3.5 million seed-lings each year. MDC provides forestry assistance on more than 42,200 acres of private land and to more than 100 municipalities.
MDC also works with landowners to maintain and improve sport fish populations, aquatic biodiversity and habitats. Last year, MDC provided stream and lake management assistance including pond evaluations, streambank stabilization and tree planting to more than 5,600 private landowners and distributed $466,000 for stream protection and restoration work through the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund, made available by the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.
“Missouri has tremendous aquatic resources and biodiversity, most of which is on private lands,” says Chris Vitello, MDC fisheries division chief. “To address this, the Department has selected 78 priority watersheds to focus its habitat and biodiversity efforts, selected for their conservation value, high likelihood of success, and the engagement of local stakeholders and partners.”
MDC partners with nongovernmental organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever, and Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, as well as other groups, to develop cost-share and other initiatives through matching agreements.
MDC’s agriculture liaison works directly with agriculture groups and agencies to foster communication and cooperation in the understanding of fish, forest and wildlife issues as they relate to agriculture. “Communication is the key,” says Clint Dalbom, MDC agriculture liaison. “If we can understand each other, we can often work together.”
These efforts are important, since according to the 2007 Ag Census, 66 percent of Missouri was listed as “part of a farm,” including pasture, timber or cropland. “Good conservation and agricultural practices go hand in hand,” said Missouri’s Director of Agriculture Jon Hagler. “We encourage farm families to take advan- tage of the outstanding programs the Department has available. Native plants and species, for example, are beneficial to farming operations and play an important role in helping Missouri farmers continue to be the most productive in the world.”
WILDLIFE HABITAT, WATER QUALITY AND SOIL HEALTH
A number of agencies have joined forces to