Public input sought for conservation area plans
St. Joseph, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to know what Missourians think about its nearly 1,000 conservation areas around the state. MDC is in the multi-year process of updating management plans for conservation areas and invites public comments. A draft plan for two conservation areas in northwest Missouri will be available for public comment June 1 through June 30. To preview draft management plans and share comments online, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
Bonanza Conservation Area in Caldwell County, south of Kingston, offers a mix of forest, old fields, cropland and grassland. With diverse habitat a wide variety of wildlife is present. But the area is also provides a special emphasis on managing habitat for bobwhite quail.
Ronald and Maude Hartell Conservation Area is northeast of Plattsburg in Clinton County. The area offers five public fishing lakes and one additional lake that is closed to public fishing but is used for educational purposes. A portion of the area borders the Little Platte River. The area is often used for educational purposes and has a classroom. Lakes are managed for trophy bass and bluegill fishing, catch and release only.
Statewide, MDC conservation areas cover almost one million public acres for the purpose of restoring and conserving forest, fish and wildlife resources, and for providing opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy and learn about these resources. Most Missourians are within a 30-minute drive of an MDC conservation area.
“Missourians care about conservation and use conservation areas for many different reasons,” said MDC Director Bob Ziehmer. “These areas help people discover nature through various activities, and help make Missouri a great place to hunt, fish, and enjoy other outdoor activities. We want to know how conservation areas are important to Missourians. Encouraging public comments on Conservation Area Management Plans is part of MDC’s ongoing efforts of working for and with Missourians to sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife.”
Conservation Area Management Plans focus on natural resource management and public use on conservation areas. The plans do not address regulations on hunting, fishing and other area uses, which are set by the Conservation Commission and enforced under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. MDC will consider all ideas received and will work to balance the issues and interests identified with the responsibility of managing areas for the present and future benefits to forest, fish, wildlife, and people. Decisions on which ideas to incorporate into area plans and on how to best incorporate them will be based on the property’s purpose, its physical and biological conditions and capabilities, the best roles of the property in its local, regional and state-wide context, and on the professional expertise of MDC staff.