Note To Our Readers
Missouri is the only state in the nation that has created sources of dedicated funds to protect and conserve natural resources, cleaner water, better soil stewardship and to set aside natural areas for recreation. No other state in the nation has been that progressive in those three areas.
As the Department celebrates its 75th anniversary, we are taking time to pause and reflect. All Missourians should be proud of our collective conservation history over the past 75 years, from the direst of times to today’s reality of abundant wildlife populations, including deer, turkey and waterfowl. Restoring healthy forests and providing a diversity of habitat for many important Missouri species has helped early conservation visions become hugely successful.
In 1936, men of great vision established a modern-day citizen- led, apolitical, science-based conservation department. That initiative petition in 1936 was the first successful initiative petition in the state’s history passed by a wide margin of victory. In 1976, Missouri men and women were successful through another initiative petition and created a vision for their future by passing the conservation sales tax. We must continue to carry forth their vision and build our own to continue to improve Missouri’s natural resources and our quality of life.
The challenges of today and tomorrow are many. We must find ways to blend domestic energy development with quality natural resource management. Wind power and many other energy initiatives all have the potential to affect our fish and wildlife populations. Water will continue to be an increasingly scarce and sought-after resource. Missouri’s population continues to grow and place extraordinary demands on our soil and water resources. Wildlife diseases, invasive species, rare and abundant wildlife are just a few of the challenges that will require us to work together to find solutions. To meet these challenges Missourians will have to continue their tradition of conservation vision, looking for opportunities to find balance and discerning when to take a firm stand for our state’s natural resources.
The Department is committed to Missourian’s long-term conservation vision by working side by side with citizens to:
- Ensure healthy and sustainable forest, fish and wildlife resources.
- Manage lands held in public trust to benefit all citizens and natural resources.
- Ensure sound financial accountability and transparency in all MDC operations.
- Provide opportunities for both urban and rural citizens to be actively involved in conservation education and services.
- Engage partners at all levels to enhance natural resources and effective delivery of conservation services
We’ve achieved the dreams of 1936 and 1976. Now it’s time to our vision and dream for the future. The work of conservation is not done. Dream big—if we collectively use our Missouri ingenuity, our willingness to take action and our commitment to conservation, we can continue this uniquely Missouri vision that many others in America and around the look to for conservation leadership. After all, we are the Show-Me State!
Tim Ripperger, deputy director