Missouri — Committed to Conservation
Whether feeding birds or watching wildlife, hunting, canoeing and boating, target shooting, fishing, or spending time at a nature center, Missourians are tied to the outdoors. The many opportunities we have to participate in these and other activities within Missouri should not be taken for granted. The vision, passion, and commitment of Missouri’s citizens for the forest, fish, and wildlife resources of Missouri have shaped the programs and experiences enjoyed today. The following information provides insight into Missouri’s nationally recognized conservation system.
Missouri’s citizens have taken unique and proactive steps to support and enhance conservation efforts.
- Created a four-member citizen volunteer Conservation Commission through a 1936 citizen-led initiative petition Constitutional Amendment
- Established a Constitutional mandate to guide activities as the Department works to carry out the mission:
“To protect and manage the forest, fish, and wildlife resources of the state; to facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources”
- Passed 1/8 of 1 cent sales tax through the 1976 “Design for Conservation”»For every $8,000 spent on taxable items, $10 is dedicated to ensure healthy forests and abundant fish and wildlife.
Citizens have created a Conservation Department that “pays its way.”
- The Department continues to — and must — live within its financial means because no money is received from state government’s general revenue fund.
- The Department operates on a budget that is only 0.7 percent of Missouri’s total state budget. »From less than 1 percent of the state budget, Conservation produces a $12.4 billion economic impact annually.
- The Conservation Sales Tax currently generates approximately $103 million each year — funds that are earmarked and spent to make fish and wildlife abundant and forests sustainable. As a result:»Missourians value wildlife recreation, hunting, and fishing experiences.
There is a $4.4 billion impact from fish and wildlife-related recreation expenditures annually.
There is an additional $8 billion annual impact from forest-related economics.
- Forest, fish, and wildlife are big business in Missouri.»These resources support approximately 89,500 Missouri jobs.
- Approximately 25 percent of Missouri’s tourism dollars are from forest, fish, wildlife, and outdoor pursuits.
Citizens have created a Conservation Department that is the envy of the nation. That is because it:
- Serves every county and maintains the necessary infrastructure to support services
- Serves both rural and urban citizens
- Provides educational programs and services for teachers throughout the state, hunter education, landowner technical assistance, intense training and equipment for rural volunteer firefighters, and much more
- Ensures fish and wildlife are abundant, forests sustainable, and our waters healthy
Missouri’s economy — not to mention quality of life — is built on our diverse, high-quality, and abundant natural resources like productive water, healthy forests, abundant fish and wildlife, and rich soils.
Surveys indicate 9 out of 10 Missourians are interested in Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife, 85 percent say they trust the Department, and two-thirds say the Department is doing a good or excellent job.
Missouri is home to 1.1 million anglers; more than 500,000 hunters; and 1.7 million wildlife watchers.
Missouri’s citizen-created Conservation Department is something to feel good about and something to value.
The future of our state’s conservation success story is dependent on continued citizen support — the cornerstone of Missouri’s conservation experience.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director