Mission, Vision, Strategic Plan

Design for the Future - Strategic Plan


To protect and manage the fish, forest, and wildlife resources of the state; to facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources.


A future with healthy fish, forests, and wildlife where all people appreciate nature.


Dedicated to our mission: Evolve to remain relevant and accomplish our mission in a changing world. Lean into opportunities and challenges and strive for constant improvement

Responsible stewards: Honor the public’s trust to conserve Missouri’s natural resources and connect people to nature. Make decisions that ensure the responsible use of public funds.

Trusted professionals: Value the expertise and leadership we each bring to our disciplines. Invest in continuous learning to ensure we are recognized leaders in conservation.

One MDC: Be inclusive of diverse people, ideas, experiences, and partners. Encourage trusting relationships, effective collaboration and open, honest communication.

21st Century Conservation Model for Success

The Missouri Department of Conservation is proud to be considered one of the finest fish, forest and wildlife agencies in the country. We have built that reputation on a foundation of strong support from Missourians, who continue to show overwhelmingly that our natural resources and the economic vitality they bring to our state are cherished and deserving of protection. For more than 80 years, the Department of Conservation, led by the dedication of the Missouri Conservation Commission and enabled by our talented staff, have ensured Missouri’s fish, forests and wildlife provide world class outdoor recreational opportunities for Missourians and visitors alike.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is building on our past successes as we plan for the next 80 years. Our updated strategic plan outlines a 21st Century Conservation Model for Success to ensure the Department remains a World-Class Leader in Conservation.

Today, our challenges are increasingly complex. We are at the start of a century that will see the world’s population grow to an unprecedented 9-10 billion inhabitants. The need to feed, shelter and provide water for the world’s population will impact every corner of the globe. Humankind’s influence on nature will be felt like never before but the Missouri Department of Conservation is optimistic because of the vital role our natural resources will continue to play and the value placed on those resources by Missourians.

Our challenge is to maintain our high level of citizen participation and conservation successes for fish, forests and wildlife as we overcome competing priorities that may be the result of financial, technological, political or social realities of a changing world. Our answer to those challenges is built on a foundation of Operational Excellence in everything we do. It is enabled by our commitment to recruit, develop and support a World-Class Staff, ensuring we prioritize the most important work in the most important places through Strategic Natural Resource Conservation, and ultimately deliver Superior Customer Service to all Missourians.

The focus on Operational Excellence includes improving the Business of Conservation:

  • Managing to our strategic plan;
  • Budgeting our resources for the highest conservation priorities;
  • Achieving measurable results through continuous process improvement;
  • Ensuring the most efficient and effective organizational structure; and
  • Measuring progress towards priority outcomes

Also driving our strategic approach to conservation is the realization that, as challenges evolve, so must our approaches to conservation and our methods for engaging the next generation of Missourians. In the near future, for the first time ever, the majority of the world’s population will reside in urban centers. Every aspect of our daily lives can be instantly connected to others anywhere in the world and never has information been so readily accessible. The challenge we embrace is ensuring the importance of our natural resources, our work in conservation, and our mission remain understood, valued and relevant for the next 80 years and beyond.

Our ultimate success will continue to be measured by the health of our fish, forests, and wildlife resources and the opportunities to enjoy nature we provide to the citizens and visitors of Missouri. A hallmark of the Missouri Department of Conservation is taking seriously the need to listen to Missourians’ cherished natural resource values, and providing the services they expect. That commitment to customer service is reflected in our values.

Efficiency and effectiveness are more than buzzwords as we work to achieve our mission. Outlined here is an effort to strategically prioritize the most pressing conservation work for the state of Missouri. The Department’s strategic framework ensures limited financial resources are invested in the most important conservation opportunities and prioritizes the maintenance of existing infrastructure for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

With your continued support, the Missouri Department of Conservation, with our Conservation Commission and all of our partners, will strive to ensure we realize our vision. That is our commitment to you.

MDC Takes Care of Nature

Missouri has healthy land, water and forests

  • Implement the Missouri Comprehensive Conservation Strategy (CCS) to prioritize and tier our approach to water and land management
  • Prevent, where possible, and minimize the impacts of priority invasive species and diseases
  • Maintain and improve the ecological functions of Missouri’s watersheds and wetland systems; continue implementation of the Department's Wetland Plan
  • Promote ecosystem resiliency and adaptation to climate stressors through relevant Department operations, planning, research, and communications

Missouri has sustainable fish and wildlife

  • Manage, through sound science and public engagement, harvestable fish and wildlife species at biologically and socially acceptable levels
  • Recover and maintain priority species of conservation concern (SOCC) to sustainable levels and support the conservation of Missouri’s full diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants
  • Increase voluntary compliance with the Wildlife Code of Missouri through a community policing approach to resource law enforcement, science-based regulation development, public engagement, and public outreach

MDC Connects People With Nature

Missourians have places to go to enjoy nature

  • Use our Land Conservation Strategy (LCS) to focus future acquisitions, disposals, resource protection, and outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Expand opportunities for outdoor recreation activities on MDC and partner lands and facilities
  • Implement a Community Conservation strategy
  • Implement a tiered approach to area maintenance and infrastructure development
  • Develop, define, and maintain data management systems/processes to ensure we communicate accurate and consistent recreational and public use opportunities for area users

Missourians value nature

  • Cultivate partnerships with individuals and organizations that build MDC's capacity to deliver conservation
  • Deliver efficient and effective nature-based educational programs and resource management workshops to diverse audiences
  • Develop a statewide relevancy strategy to showcase the importance of nature in our economic vitality and quality of life, and increase support for conservation

MDC Maintains Public Trust

Missourians are confident their investments are used wisely

  • Deliver high quality products and services through a focused customer experience to achieve lasting customer relationships
  • Advance organizational performance through measurement and data analysis
  • Achieve strategic alignment through leadership and planning
  • Ensure efficient and effective business operations

Missouri is a recognized leader in conservation

  • Recruit, develop and retain a skilled workforce
  • Build a workforce that represents Missouri's demographics
  • Support an inclusive work environment where all people are valued and respected