This summary of the Annual Report is a snapshot of the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001. The Conservation Department made $695,638 in payments to Missouri counties in lieu of taxes, and also paid $308,461 for land in the Forest Cropland Program.
- Offered landowner deer and turkey permits for nonresidents at reduced price. Beginning with the spring 2001 turkey season, qualifying nonresident landowners were able to purchase deer and turkey hunting permits at reduced prices. To qualify, nonresidents must own a minimum of 75 contiguous acres within a single management unit.
- Expanded reciprocal fishing privileges on border waters. Beginning in March 2001, new reciprocal fishing agreements with Illinois and Arkansas greatly expanded fishing opportunities for Missouri anglers on waters we share with those two states. On the flowing portions and backwaters of the Mississippi River bordering Illinois, anglers licensed or exempted by Missouri or Illinois may now fish on the water and from either state's shorelines. We also worked with the state of Illinois to develop a set of common fishing regulations for the river, making it easier for anglers to abide by the regulations regardless of where they are fishing. The new White River Border Lakes Permit ($10), in conjunction with a valid fishing permit, allows a Missouri resident to fish anywhere on the Arkansas portions of Bull Shoals, Norfork and Table Rock lakes. This is a $22 savings over what they formerly paid for a non-resident Arkansas fishing license.
- Renovated St. Louis lakes. The Department worked with St. Louis City and County in renovating two lakes in south St. Louis. Through a grant to St. Louis County, Carp Lake in Suson Park was drained, deepened and the lakeshore was rebuilt to accommodate a large number of anglers. St. Louis City and Department construction crews worked together to rehabilitate Boathouse Lake in Carondolet Park. They deepened the lake, installed an aeration system, made lakeshore, walkway and water supply improvements, strategically placed fish habitat enhancement structures in the lake and constructed disabled user facilities.
- Restored McKenzie Creek in partnership with several organizations. The McKenzie Creek Project transformed a littered, degraded McKenzie Creek into a beautiful stream that is now a great source of community pride. Through the use of federal buyout funds, many flooded structures were removed. Car bodies were also removed, and stream improvement measures were installed. Several litter pickups and other community events were sponsored by Stream Teams and other community organizations. The result is a greenway park that is now a community highlight. Partners in the project were Natural Resources Conservation Service, the City of Piedmont and Piedmont area Stream Teams.
- Expanded B.K. Leach Memorial Conservation Area. With the purchase of a 942-acre tract in the Mississippi River floodplain of Lincoln County, the Department increased the size of the B.K. Leach Memorial Conservation Area to 1,959 acres. The addition increases important wetland habitat along the Mississippi River, providing resting and feeding areas for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, colonial waterbirds, forest dwelling birds and other wetland-dependent species. Birds that will benefit from the project include northern pintail, American black duck, interior least tern, snowy egret, black rail and red-headed woodpecker. The restoration will include construction of 1,600 acres of managed wetlands, as well as 100 acres of wet prairies and about 200 acres of bottomland hardwood forest. Partners in the project include the American Land Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Waterfowl USA, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forrest Keeling Nursery in Elsberry.
- Initiated a Cooperative Bobwhite Quail Restoration Effort. In cooperation with Quail Unlimited, the Department developed a new quail habitat initiative designed to restore bobwhite quail populations statewide. The initiative, named "Bring Back Bob," provides 75 percent cost-share or incentive payments to landowners who adhere to land management plans to implement approved practices. Such payments are available for herbaceous vegetation control, nesting cover establishment, annual disturbance and old field/hedgerow renovation.
- Introduced the First Youth-Only Spring Turkey Season. The Department established a special, two-day turkey season for resident youths age 15 years and younger. Youth hunters harvested 2,530 birds in the inaugural season, and there were no accidents.
- Protection agents made 191,715 resource contacts, noted 27,940 wildlife violations, issued 3,453 written warnings and made 6,790 arrests. In addition, agents held 5,952 youth meetings, displayed 1,253 exhibits, made 11,312 appearances on radio/TV programs and certified 28,798 new hunter safety students in 969 hunter education classes.
- Operation Game Thief grew in terms of number of calls received and percentage of calls resulting in arrests. In 2000, Operation Game Thief produced 197 court cases completed from 559 telephone calls. Also, 1,338 hunters donated more than 49,000 pounds of venison to the needy through the "Share the Harvest" program.
- The Private Land Services Division completed its first full year of service to Missouri's private landowners. The staff of 82 employees provided on-site assistance to 6,330 individual landowners, impacting over 300,000 acres of land. Private land conservationists, urban watershed conservationists and other specialists provided a full range of natural resource conservation assistance. Effective conservation partnerships have also been formed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Districts, Quail Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Audubon-Missouri, Missouri Conservation Foundation, and others.
- Initiated the Grow Native! Program to increase the interest and availability of native plants, including native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs. Grow Native! is increasing the number of areas that are appropriately recreated using native grasses and forbs, development of high-visibility native display gardens throughout the state. The program also encourages increased participation of private land agricultural enterprises demonstrating improved agricultural practices resulting in increased wildlife and water quality.
- The George O. White State Forest Nursery distributed more than 5.8 million seedlings to nearly 13,600 individual landowners. This was an increase of more than 1 million seedlings from 2000, a 20-percent increase. The tree seedlings were offered for reforestation, wildlife food and cover, riparian corridor restoration, windbreaks and many other uses.
- Added nearly 2,000 acres to the Natural Areas system. The Natural Areas system now contains 177 areas totaling 56,000 acres protecting the best examples of Missouri's terrestrial and aquatic natural communities. Missouri natural areas are biological communities or geological sites that preserve and are managed to perpetuate the natural character, diversity and ecological processes of Missouri's native landscapes. They are permanently protected and managed for the purpose of preserving their natural qualities. Highlights include the addition of privately-owned Morris Prairie Natural Area in Sullivan county (47 acres). This area contains dry-mesic and mesic prairie and is the only known location in the state for the rare prairie lily (Lilium philadelphicum). An addition to Danville Glades Natural Area in Montgomery County increased natural area system acreage by 313 acres. Principal features protected here are the state's largest known limestone glades, limestone and sandstone woodlands and the rare prairie dandelion (Microseris cuspidata).
- Expanded markets for Conservation On Call Radio Program. "Conservation on Call," the Department's weekly radio program, was broadcast by eight different radio stations in seven different markets.
- Posted a Record Spring Turkey Harvest. Including birds taken during the inaugural Youth-Only Season, hunters harvested 57,832 turkeys, an increase of 991 over the 2000 season. It was the third consecutive spring turkey harvest record. Resident and non-resident spring turkey permits totaled 113,253, compared to 112,003 in 2000. The three-week season produced a harvest of 55,302 birds
- Developed a 5-Year Plan to Rid Black Carp From the State. The plan's primary objective is to keep the black carp, an ecologically destructive species, from escaping from commercial fish farms and reproducing in public waters. As part of the plan, the Conservation Department acquires or rears sexually sterile black carp. These fish are offered to fish farmers who rely on the species to control snails that serve as intermediate hosts for parasitic flatworms that can infest the fish they are trying to raise. The plan also calls for the elimination of illegally-held, fertile black carp.
- Welcomed the Introduction of the Conservation License Plate. To provide educational funds for the non-profit Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, the Missouri Motor Vehicle Bureau issued special, Conservation License Plates. Proceeds from the funds are partially used for conservation education in the form of grants of up to $2,500 for qualified applicants. The Foundation provided $35,000 to the program, and the Conservation Department contributed an additional $70,000 for outdoor classroom grants.
- Conservation Department began a walleye initiative to expand walleye fishing opportunities around the state. The agency selected several lakes and six rivers that showed the most promise as walleye fisheries. These waters were to be managed and stocked so that more anglers could enjoy catching walleye. The plan calls for stocking millions of small walleye in the targeted rivers and lakes.
What the Money Buys - Fiscal Year 2000 - 2001
Forests - $15,166,928
Conservation Department programs foster a healthy and growing forest resource. Examples include distributing 5.8 million seedlings for planting to nearly 13,600 landowners, developing 80 Landowner Forest Stewardship Plans, bringing an additional 13,553 acres under total resource management , managing 444,417 acres of public forest land, developing the state's forest industry and conducting research on trees and forests.
Wildlife - $13,739,792
Conservation Department programs ensure wildlife populations that are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Examples are: management of about 501,066 acres of public land, research and population monitoring of game and non-game species, wetland development, wildlife restoration and wildlife damage control.
Fisheries - $14,337,752
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Missouri. In 2000, the Conservation Department sold 1,458,418 resident and non-resident fishing permits and tags of all types to 899,008 people. The agency produced 4,551,921 fish for stocking in various waters. The Conservation Department manages 849 public impoundments totaling 277,055 acres of water.
Natural History - $2,306,434
Coordinates and provides overall and specialized services to the Department's natural areas, endangered species programs, wildlife diversity and natural community conservation and management programs, as well as programs to promote public appreciation of natural resources.
Law Enforcement - $15,239,784
Paid for law enforcement, resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by 216 conservation agents. Conservation agents, along with 1,850 volunteer instructors, conducted 994 classes and certified more than 30,000 students.
Outreach and Education - $12,889,634
Paid for education materials and contacts with Missouri schoolteachers, the Missouri Conservationist magazine, films, videos, postage and informational programs.
Private Land Services - $4,603,906
Newly established division provides resource education and technical assistance to private landowners to conserve forest, fish and wildlife resources.
Administration - $5,834,998
Paid for legal counsel, auditor, summer help and an expanded array of other administrative functions.
Administrative Services and Human Resources- $30,203,931
Paid for human resources, federal reimbursement administration, fiscal services, aviation services, fleet management, building and grounds maintenance, planning, environmental coordination, information management and technology and other essential services.
Land Acquisition, Landowner Assistance, In-Lieu Taxes - $3,864,469
In lieu of tax payments, which included levee and drainage district taxes, totaled $639,004.82 to 112 counties. The four largest payments were to Shannon ($80,142), St. Louis ($50,192), Reynolds ($30,787) and Vernon ($25,593) counties. Since 1980, more than $8.2 million has been returned to Missouri counties under the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.
Construction & Development - $20,402,924
Paid for outstate service centers, hatchery improvements, wetland development, river access site development and other construction.
Design and Development - $9,399,512
Paid for engineering, construction administration and architecture.triangle