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Good News for Hellbenders

The Saint Louis Zoo’s Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation recently announced that eight female Ozark hellbenders laid nearly 3,000 fertile eggs in the Zoo’s artificial nest boxes in simulated streams, promising hundreds of larvae for a cooperative live-rearing program in cooperation with MDC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This is the first time the zoo has produced young hellbenders from all three of its river populations. This includes hellbenders bred from a population in a habitat that has been maintained indoors for the past eight years in the Zoo’s simulated White River North Fork stream. Hellbenders laid eggs in nest boxes in artificial streams designed to simulate the Current, North Fork, and Eleven Point rivers.

Rivers in south-central Missouri and adjacent Arkansas once supported up to 8,000 Ozark hellbenders. Today, fewer than 600 exist in the world—so few that the amphibian was added to the federal endangered species list in 2011.

Due to these drastic declines, captive propagation became a priority in the long-term recovery of the species. Once the captive-bred larvae are 3 to 8 years old, they can then be released into their natural habitat—the Ozark aquatic ecosystem.

MDC works with citizens to sustain healthy forests, fish, and wildlife.

New Fish Identified

The latest addition to the list of fish found in Missouri has been named to honor conservation pioneering President Theodore Roosevelt. Rick Mayden at St. Louis University and Steve Layman of Kennesaw, Ga., determined that the speckled darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum), whose distribution stretched from the western Appalachian Mountains to eastern Oklahoma, actually comprised five distinct species. One, Etheostoma teddyroosevelt, inhabits the upper White River drainage in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The announcement of the new fish noted Roosevelt’s enduring environmental conservation legacy, including creating national forests, wildlife refuges, monuments and parks, as well as his efforts to establish the American Museum of Natural History. The average person would have trouble distinguishing between the five species, all of which share torpedo-like bodies and vivid scarlet and turquoise markings.

Schools Show “Can-Do” Attitude

Missouri elementary, middle and home school students K–8 are invited to help in the fight against litter in the Show-Me State— and to have creative and educational fun—by participating in the 2013 “Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter-Free” trash-can-decorating contest. The annual contest is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) as part of the state’s No MOre Trash! campaign to raise awareness about Missouri’s litter problem and to discourage littering.

The contest encourages school classes and groups to join in the fight against litter by decorating and displaying a large trash can with the No MOre Trash! logo and a litter-prevention message using a variety of creative media. Schools may submit one entry in each competition category: K–2, 3–5, and 6–8. Entries are judged based on creativity, adherence to contest rules, and effective use of theme and logo.

“In addition to teaching kids about how litter hurts, first-place winners from each competition category receive $200 awarded to the sponsoring schools,” said MDC No MOre Trash! Coordinator Joe Jerek. “All first-place winners are then eligible for a grand prize of a trophy and $600 awarded to the sponsoring school.”

There is no entry fee for the contest. Participating school groups must submit a completed entry form and up to three photos to nomoretrash.org by March 8. Contest rules, entry forms, logo, past contest winners, and educational information can be found at nomoretrash.org.

November Deer Harvest Up 8 Percent

Hunters shot 204,668 deer during the November portion of Missouri’s firearms deer season, topping the past four years’ harvests and confirming predictions by MDC.

This year’s statewide November deer harvest is approximately 8 percent more than last year. Top harvest counties during the season Nov. 10 through 20 were Howell with 4,037, followed by Texas with 3,916, and Benton with 3,756. MDC recorded five nonfatal and three fatal firearms related hunting incidents during the 11-day November firearms deer hunt.

Eight of the 10 top harvest counties were south of the Missouri River, confirming predictions of a strong harvest in southern Missouri because of a poor acorn crop. Meanwhile, the harvest in northern Missouri declined slightly, mirroring a decline in deer numbers there in the past 10 years as deer numbers have increased slowly across southern Missouri. Both trends are the result of efforts to maximize hunting opportunity while avoiding unacceptable levels of property damage and deer-vehicle collisions.

Deer hunting contributes approximately $1.1 billion annually to the state and local economies and supports more than 12,000 jobs in Missouri.

2012 Fishing Records

2012 was a good year for fishing in Missouri, with anglers certifying six state-record fish. The action began on March 23, when David Warren, Sikeston, hauled in an 11-pound, 4 ounce bowfin while bowfishing at Duck Creek Conservation Area (CA).

On April 14, Rachel Davis, Climax Springs, landed a 1-pound, 12-ounce goldeye on a pole and line at Lake of the Ozarks.

Then, on April 28, Dylan Gilmore, Perry, caught a 9-pound, 2-ounce largemouth bass on a trotline at Ka-Tonka Lake in Ralls County. Nicholas J. Wray, Harrisonville, already had the state record for a river carpsucker in the alternative-methods category. On May 6 he caught a 5-pound, 6-ounce specimen on a trotline from the South Grand River near Amarugia Highlands CA, giving him both state records for the species.

Wray’s monopoly on river carpsucker records didn’t last long. Cody Chaney, Belton, was bow fishing in a cove at Lake of the Ozarks May 27 when he shot a 5-pound, 8-ouncer.

Finally, on June 22, Brodrick Glessner, Sunrise Beach, caught a 1-pound 14-ounce brook trout on pole and line at Lake of the Ozarks. Record fish are one reason Missouri is a great place for outdoorspeople. For details about current state records and how to apply for one, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/2476.

NASP World Championship to Be Held in St. Louis

MDC expects a spike in participation by Missouri student archers with the recent announcement by the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) that it will hold its 2013 NASP World Championship in St. Louis. The event will be held June 28–30 at the America Center and Edward Jones Dome, home of the St. Louis Rams.

For the past four years, the NASP world tournament has been held in Orlando, Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World. The world tournament has drawn student archers from 25 states, Canada, Africa and New Zealand.

According to NASP, the 2013 World Championship is being relocated to St. Louis because the location is more centralized and remains equally accessible for attendees from other countries. St. Louis also provides numerous off-site attractions and is more financially friendly to attendees. The new location also allows for more favorable scheduling for coaches, teams, and schools.

NASP expects approximately 2,000 student archers to participate in the 2013 NASP World Championship, including many from Missouri’s National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP).

MoNASP is coordinated and funded by MDC and the Conservation Federation of Missouri in partnership with hundreds of schools and supporting organizations throughout the state. MoNASP is an affiliate of NASP and promotes education, self esteem, and physical activity for students in grades 4 through 12 through participation in the sport of archery. More than 56,000 Missouri students from 262 schools participate in MoNASP.

MoNASP will hold its 2013 state tournament at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg March 23.

For more information on NASP, visit archeryintheschools.org. For more information on MoNASP, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3813.

Website for Mobile Devices

MDC’s website at mdc.mo.gov gets more than 1.5 million views each month by people looking for a variety of information. Some of the most popular topics include hunting and fishing seasons and regulations, permits purchases, and finding local MDC contacts.

These popular topics and others are now more readily available for easier and faster access on smart phones and other small-screen mobile devices through MDC’s mobile version of its website.

Visit mdc.mo.gov through your smart phone and other small-screen mobile devices to access the mobile version. It’s so simple that the website will automatically detect that you are using a device with a small-screen, such as a smart phone, and offer the option of the mobile version of the website. The mobile version also gives users the option of viewing the full-browser version of the website.

“Our enhanced website for mobile devices is one more way we are improving our services and technology to better meet the needs of the

millions of Missourians and others we serve,” says MDC Digital Communications Manager Chris Cloyd. “And be sure to bookmark the site for easy access.”

Cloyd adds that some smart phones even allow users to save the mobile version of the website as an icon on the device screen.

St. Louis Zoo Honors MDC Herpetologist

MDC Herpetologist Jeff Briggler was honored at the St. Louis Zoo’s 21st annual Marlin Perkins Society Celebration Nov. 1. Briggler, a 12-year veteran of MDC, received the St. Louis Zoo Conservation Award for his work to preserve Missouri’s amphibians and reptiles. His work has taken Briggler to every corner of the state conservation award photo courtesy of David Bentley and a variety of habitats, ranging from prairies to swamps to forests. Since 2001, he has worked with the Zoo to lead the hellbender conservation efforts in Missouri and is considered one of the nation’s leading hellbender experts. Present at the award ceremony were, from the left: Dr. Eric Miller, DVM; Senior Vice President, Director of Operations and the Zoo’s WildCare Center; Briggler; and Jeff Ettling, Curator of Herpetology and Aquatics and Director of the Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation.

CRP Incentives

Landowners in 54 Missouri counties can receive incentive bonuses for enrolling new land in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Those with existing CRP contracts could receive payments for management practices that enhance the value of CRP acres for wildlife.

Missouri’s approximately 1.1 million acres of CRP land serve, protect, and enhance soil, water and wildlife habitat. In the past two years alone, Missouri has lost more than 200,000 acres of CRP to contract expirations and landuse conversions.

Starting Dec. 1, MDC is offering $100 to $150 per acre for new land enrolled in certain CRP practices. The MDC incentives are in addition to $100 to $150 incentive payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency (FSA) for new enrollments.

MDC also is offering an additional $18 to $60 per acre for some mid-contract management activities. These payments are in addition to FSA payments for required mid-contract management activities.

Besides all of the foregoing incentives, MDC is offering landowners incentive payments of $100 to $200 for planting or enhancing shrubby cover within or adjacent to CRP land.

Mid-contract management incentives are available now. Incentives for new CRP acres are contingent on passage or extension of the federal farm bill.

More information is available from local MDC private land conservationists (PLCs). To find your PLC, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/19935.

2013 Eagle Days

Missouri’s winter eagle watching is spectacular as large numbers of our national symbol congregate along rivers, lakes, and wetlands. You can discover nature at Eagle Days this month and next at the following MDC-sponsored events, which include guides with spotting scopes to view wild eagles and indoor programs featuring live eagles, exhibits, activities, and videos.

  • Smithville Lake Little Platte Park Course Complex, Smithville, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 5 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 6. For more information call 816-532-0174.
  • Springfield Conservation Nature Center, Springfield, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 27. For more information call 417-888-4237.
  • Clarksville, Lock & Dam 24 and Apple Shed Theater, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 27. For more information call 660-785-2420.
  • Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, programs in the maintenance building at the refuge entrance, with viewing at nearby Duck Creek Conservation Area, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 2. For more information call 573-222-3988.

For more information about Eagle Days, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/16598.

Did You Know?

We work with you and for you to sustain healthy wildlife.

Landowner Assistance

  • More than 70,000 urban and rural landowners are provided with timely and responsive service by MDC each year.
  • More than 7,000 on-the-farm visits are made by MDC each year.
  • Approximately $1 million in cost share funds were provided by MDC to assist landowners with habitat work.
  • Partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and apply more than $170 million annually in federal Farm Bill conservation programs that provide benefits to forests, fish, and wildlife.
  • To contact a private land conservationist near you, see Page 3 for regional office phone numbers or visit mdc.mo.gov/node/19935 and search for your county.
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