The Promise Continues
more than 6,000 on-the-farm visits to help landowners achieve their natural resource goals—often in cooperation with their neighbors.
“We’re seeing an increase in cooperative landscape scale conservation, where landowners are working with the Department and other agencies to implement wildlife habitat work over hundreds, if not thousands, of contiguous acres,” says Bill White, MDC private land services field chief. “You have a much better chance of success when you reach across the fence and come to an understanding with your neighbor about developing these ‘wild acres’ together with shared resources.”
Many of these cooperatives are united by a common goal, whether it is to manage for more quail, deer, turkey or elk, or to help bring back species on the brink, such as the prairie chicken.
“Landowners working together to improve habitat for quail or turkey also benefit a whole suite of other wildlife species. For example, grassland habitat for prairie chickens also provides much needed habitat for grassland songbirds, rabbits and quail,” White says.
Many other species, in a variety of habitats, also stand to benefit from landscape-scale and watershed conservation partnerships currently being formed throughout the state. These large-scale efforts to improve and conserve functioning habitats ultimately benefit the greatest number of fish and wildlife species possible. Contact your local MDC private land conservationist for information about incentives and cost-share programs, and to schedule a visit to evaluate and enhance wildlife habitat on your property. Find your contact at mdc.mo.gov/ node/4755 or call your regional office
Future Conservation Challenges
When one surveys the state’s abundant populations of small mammals, turkeys and deer, or hears that migratory waterfowl numbers are up, it almost invites a sense of congratulatory complacency because the hard work of restoration appears to be complete. Yet, for every restoration success story, there are other wildlife and fish species still struggling to rebound.
The Department remains dedicated to ensuring that healthy habitats and waterways continue to benefit all plant and animal species. “Challenges to conservation have not disappeared. The next 75 years promise to be more challenging than the last 75 years,” says Draper. “Management of plant and animal diseases, allocation of water resources and growing human populations that demand much from natural resources are just a few of the challenges we will face.”
Other future challenges include balancing the needs of both abundant and rare wildlife, degradation of our stream systems, habitat loss and fragmentation,