Private Landowners: The Key to Conservation Success

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Published on: Jun. 18, 2012

annually. MDC also works with several partner organizations to help deliver an average of $280,000 in matching funds directly for quail needs. MDC staff also helps private landowners apply for more than $150 million in funds available through USDA Farm Bill programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program and Conservation Buffers for Upland Birds.

MDC supports more than 30 private-land quail focus areas, where we offer additional cost-share opportunities and services, such as loaner equipment to help create quail habitat. MDC also works with partner organizations, including Quail Unlimited, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, and Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever, on quail restoration. Members of several quail cooperatives help each other improve wildlife habitat and involve youth with habitat projects and wildlife education.

Visit MDC’s More Quail blog at node/8728 and learn ways to improve quail habitat at

Landowners and Trust Fund Benefit Streams

Private landowner Gordon Clayton of Lawrence County used the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund to correct years of mismanagement along a stream on property he purchased in 2004. The stream, Cracker Neck Branch, had the lower two miles channelized years ago. This caused a headcut as the stream tried to regain its natural grade, lowering the streambed and creating raw, vertical streambanks with heights of 15 feet or more.

One of Clayton’s first steps was removing livestock and planting trees on either side of the stream. Clayton worked with the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices in Lawrence County and MDC to determine that grade control structures were needed to capture the headcut and return the stream’s grade to a more natural state. These structures can be expensive. Fortunately the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation’s Stream Stewardship Trust Fund was able to help fund this project.

Now that the structure is in place, Clayton is well underway to establishing more than 9 acres of riparian corridor and wetland buffers. With time and the added stability provided by the grade control structures, the streambank vegetation will flourish and the stream will become healthier. This project, and others like it, benefit adjacent landowners and local fisheries.

Clayton’s project is one of many small success stories between private landowners, the Department and other partners. Funding comes in part from the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund, overseen by the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. The Fund receives monies from developers, agencies or individuals seeking a 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which enforces the Clean Water Act for required mitigation work. Those funds are used for stream projects that meet the Foundation’s responsibility to restore, enhance or preserve the stream resource.

The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation has allocated more than $4.5 million from the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund to stream protection and improvement projects since the program began 12 years ago.

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