Fiscal Year 2012–2013 Annual Report Summary
This Annual Report summary highlights the Missouri Department of Conservation’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013. These accomplishments are based on the Department’s five main goals. Not only does this summary highlight the accomplishments of the Department, but it emphasizes that Missourians care about conserving forests, fish, and wildlife; that we work with Missourians and for Missourians to sustain healthy forests, fish, and wildlife; that we help people discover nature; that conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish; and that conservation pays by enriching our economy and quality of life.
Healthy Forests, Fish, And Wildlife
The Missouri Conservation Commission approved an elk restoration plan in October 2010. An elk restoration zone was established that included portions of Carter, Shannon, and Reynolds counties. In 2011, 39 elk that had been captured and transported from Kentucky were released on Peck Ranch Conservation Area (CA). In 2012, additional elk were captured in Kentucky and released at both Peck Ranch CA (19 adult elk plus 13 calves) and at The Nature Conservancy’s Chilton Creek Preserve (14 adult elk). In 2013, 39 elk were captured and transported from Kentucky, one male calf was born en route, and all were released on Peck Ranch CA.
In March 2013, Department conservation agents, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) special agents, and wildlife officers from other states contacted more than 100 suspects in Missouri and eight other states to issue citations, execute arrest warrants, conduct interviews, and gather information regarding paddlefish poaching. The arrests and citations were the result of a multi-year joint undercover investigation by the Department and the USFWS involving the illegal commercialization of Missouri paddlefish and their eggs for national and international caviar markets.
Extreme drought took hold in 2012. Examples of how the drought affected the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife include:
- Wildfire Suppression: Department staff worked with fire departments across the state to suppress 2,784 wildfires that consumed 27,209 acres.
- Aquatic Resources: There was a statewide increase in fish kills and excess vegetation in ponds. Staff provided landowners with information on how to minimize the drought’s impacts and prevent similar problems in the future.
- Deer: Missouri experienced a widespread hemorrhagic disease (HD) outbreak in deer during the summer and fall of 2012 with a total of 10,177 suspected HD cases reported. Additionally, the low acorn crop increased