This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Missouri Department of Conservation’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011. These accomplishments are based on the nine goals established in The Next Generation of Conservation. 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.
In 2011, more than 78,000 Missouri children were connected with nature through various Discover Nature Schools instructional units and grants. Thus far, 95 school districts adopted the elementary habitats unit, 115 districts taught the middle-school aquatic unit and 24 districts adopted the high school ecology unit. An additional 76 schools engaged students in learning about Missouri’s fish, forest, wildlife or natural habitats through our Conservation K-3 Field Trip Grant. This year a kindergarten through second-grade unit was completed, and a pre-kindergarten unit is in development. Conservation grants supporting Discover Nature Schools totaled $268,909.
Targeted to Missourians age 7–12, Xplor magazine aims to connect kids with nature using fun, interesting stories, art and photography. The free bimonthly magazine and companion website were launched in February 2010. At the end of FY11, subscriptions to the magazine were at 80,000 and are slated to surpass 100,000 in the first quarter of FY12.
Social media plays an increasing role in sharing MDC information with Missourians. The Department’s Facebook page reaches almost 1.5 million people per month from more than 33,000 fans who then share our information with their hundreds of thousands of online friends. Our Twitter feed has more than 1,600 followers who then pass MDC tweets along to thousands more. MDC’s YouTube channels average about 140,000 views per month with more than 5 million total views. MDC online photos through Flickr offer about 1,500 images, which have had more than 25,000 views.
Wild elk returned to Missouri after an absence of 150 years. On May 5, 2011, after all requirements of the health protocols were met, six bull elk and 28 cows and calves arrived at Peck Ranch Conservation Area (CA). This 23,000- acre conservation area is within the 346-square-mile elk restoration zone that encompasses parts of Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties. The elk were captured in December 2010, and January 2011, by MDC staff in cooperation with biologists from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The elk restoration plan includes monitoring elk movements, habitat use, and demographics, and addresses situations when elk move onto land where they are not welcome. Automobile routes have been opened on Peck Ranch CA to allow visitors to view free-ranging elk.
MDC, in cooperation with Mississippi State University and with funding from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, began the first ever black bear research project in Missouri. A total of 13 black bears were captured and fitted with GPS radio collars across the southwest portion of the state. All captured bears were outfitted with ear tags for identification. The average weight of adult male bears was 321 pounds. The average weight of adult female bears was 185 pounds.
Since 2009, MDC has captured 502 and euthanized 486 feral hogs as part of the eradication effort. Eleven hogs were captured and released with tracking collars to provide information about their movement, which also aids in developing effective eradication plans.
Conservation agents coordinate and support the Share the Harvest program with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, local charitable organizations and local meat processors. Together, these groups have supported the donations of more than 256 tons of meat during the past two years. In FY11, approximately 5,731 hunters donated 305,643 pounds of venison to less-fortunate Missourians.
The nine communities of the Redings Mill Fire Protection District are the first in Missouri to be recognized as Firewise Communities/USA. This is a National Fire Protection Association program co-sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters. The goal is to promote the use of technology, policy and practices that minimize the loss of life and property to wildfire, independent of firefighting.
Interest in the Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance cost-share program continues to be strong as Missouri towns have experienced numerous severe weather events. In FY11, MDC spent $206,386 funding 31 chosen applications. Applicants matched the MDC contribution by 48 percent providing $194,059 in local match.
MDC and volunteers provided more than 2,030 programs on hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting sports. More than 114,000 people took part in these programs. We offered about 877 Hunter Education classes and certified 22,852 students. More than 130,000 visitors attended programs or practiced firearms and archery shooting at our five staffed shooting ranges and 75 unmanned shooting ranges.
MDC piloted a new draw system for waterfowl hunters on three of 15 conservation areas that offer managed waterfowl hunting. Called Quick Draw, MDC conducted this Internet based draw system twice a week during the waterfowl season to allocate hunting opportunities at three conservation areas: Eagle Bluffs, Grand Pass and Otter Slough. Quick Draw results were discussed and evaluated following the waterfowl season and will be used again for the upcoming season on the same three waterfowl areas.
Blue catfish sampling continues on both Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Reservoir. Information is being collected to determine the population structure and geventh rates of blue catfish. A companion tagging study is also underway. These data will be used to manage catfish these reservoirs.
Missouri Stream Team grew to 4,321 teams (85 percent still active) statewide in 2010. A total of 146,361 hours were volunteered to enhance and restore Missouri streams.
Through a cooperative effort among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey and states in the upper Mississippi River basin, long-term trends in fisheries, water quality, invertebrates, forest resources, land use and land cover for the entire upper river system are monitored. This work is done through a network of state-operated field stations. In Missouri, the Big Rivers and Wetlands Systems Field Station monitors conditions in the 25 river miles both north and south of Cape Girardeau. The program is involved in answering questions that come from analysis of water quality and fisheries data that the field station collects.
The Stream Stewardship Trust Fund is available to restore, enhance and/or protect stream systems and associated riparian habitats. The program and funds are administered by the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, and MDC applies for grants. In FY11, four projects totaling $158,585 were approved to protect Missouri’s stream and riparian corridors.
Approximately 452 private landowners received more than $661,000 in cost-share funds to implement beneficial habitat management practices for fish, forest and wildlife resources.
MDC had approximately 60 partnership agreements in FY11 with federal, state and nongovernmental organizations. These relationships helped MDC enhance technical and financial assistance and equipment support to landowners interested in improving fish, forest and wildlife resources. Through the partnerships, we assisted United States Department of Agriculture with developing and applying $150 million in Farm Bill conservation programs. We also leveraged staffing, equipment and enhancement funds with partner organizations.
MDC provided timely and responsive service through approximately 73,519 rural and urban landowner contacts, including more than 5,500 on-site visits. Technical assistance was offered to landowners who wanted help with habitat management plans. Staffers also answered 4,932 requests for wildlife nuisance or damage assistance, including 1,000 on-site visits. A survey completed in 2010 indicated that more than 90 percent of our cooperators were very satisfied with the assistance they received.
MDC has maintained a high level of active management on MDC lands—especially for quail and grassland birds. During FY11, we conducted habitat management activities on nearly 185,000 acres of public land including 43,000 acres of wetland, 21,000 acres of woodland/forest/savanna, 76,000 acres of cropland (64,000 acres through permittee farmers and 12,000 acres in food plots), 24,000 acres of grassland/prairie, 20,000 acres of old fields and 1,000 acres of glade.
MDC completed the following major construction projects: Eminence City Park access, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area (CA) office and draw room, regional office storage at Charles W. Green CA, Kansas City Regional Office, Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery sewage lift station, Lost Valley Fish Hatchery rearing pond under drain system, Lost Valley Fish Hatchery roof, Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center HVAC condensing unit, evaporator coil and controls, Jay Henges Shooting Range renovation, Roaring Rivers Fish Hatchery building improvements and Ten Mile Pond CA levee relocation around Blew Hole.
Approximately 333 acres of land in two counties were purchased, and approximately 1,156 acres in three counties were donated. Acquisitions included an addition to LaBarque Creek Conservation Area that will provide additional protection of the LaBarque Creek watershed, land providing habitat for prairie chickens and the donation of a new conservation area consisting of restorable grasslands, forest and wetlands.
The state forest nursery annually gevens and distributes about 3.5 million seedlings generating $953,000 in income. The seedlings are planted on both public and private land statewide. The nursery filled more than 9,600 orders involving more than 38,000 packages of seedling trees, with a customer satisfaction rate of more than 99 percent.
The Missouri Forest Products Association and MDC sponsor logger training courses about forest-management principles, introducing new techniques and concepts and enhancing safety. Eight workshops were held across the state, training 66 loggers. These 66 join 266 others for a total of 332 trained loggers in Missouri.
On May 8, 2009, a severe storm impacted the southern half of Missouri. On MDC lands, approximately 13,000 acres were impacted and damaged-timber volume was estimated at 33 million board feet. In FY11, 11 salvage sales were contracted covering 811 acres. To date, 31.9 million board feet have been salvaged, bringing in $1.9 million in revenue to MDC. Salvage operations on MDC areas were completed in FY11.
We conduct a variety of scientifically sound, unbiased and representative efforts each year in an effort to understand public opinions, expectations and recreation participation. This information guides decisions about regulations and fish, forest and wildlife management. In FY10, there were 47 activities that involved 77,834 people. These included surveys, focus groups, public meetings and ombudsman contacts.
In 2008, MDC anticipated a decline in revenues due to the downturn in the economy. A vacancy management plan was implemented to identify positions that would not be filled as they became vacant. By June 2011, the vacancy management plan had been fully implemented and 174 positions were vacated and held. The vacancy management plan has resulted in a savings of more than $10 million.
County Assistance Payments—$1,478,695 Included payments to Missouri’s counties for levee and drainage district taxes, forest cropland payments, payments in lieu of real estate taxes and county aid road trust payments. Since 1980, more than $15.17 million has been paid to Missouri counties in lieu of real estate taxes.
Capital Improvements—$17,101,172 Work included fish hatchery improvements, river access development, wetland renovations, shooting range construction, nature center improvements, land acquisition transactions and renovation and repair of facilities statewide.
Fisheries—$12,740,577 Maintained and improved sport fish populations, aquatic biodiversity and aquatic habitats. Managed 944 impoundments and stream areas for public fishing, and provided stream and lake management assistance to 5,679 private landowners. Stocked approximately 8.3 million fish in public lakes and streams.
Forestry—$14,799,844 Fostered a healthy and gevening forest resource. Examples include distributing about 3.5 million seedlings for planting to 9,600 landowners, provided forestry assistance on more than 42,200 acres of private land and to more than 100 municipalities, managing 438,700 acres of public forestland, monitoring insect and disease threats and facilitating development of the state’s forest industry.
Wildlife—$17,095,531 Worked toward ensuring wildlife populations are in harmony with habitat and human enjoyment. Managed more than 525,000 acres of public land and implemented programs to maintain and restore natural communities and wildlife diversity across Missouri’s landscape.
Outreach and Education—$14,389,507 Sustained Missourians’ connection to the outdoors through more than 1 million visitors to conservation nature centers and shooting-range/outdoor-education centers, nearly 500,000 subscribers to the Missouri Conservationist magazine, about 80,000 subscribers to the Xplor magazine, Web-based information, grants to schools exceeding $200,000, conservation curriculums for schools, outdoor skills programs and hunter education.
Private Land Services—$6,852,347 Helped private landowners to achieve long-term natural resource conservation objectives. Provided service through 31,400 rural and urban landowner contacts; affected 280,155 acres through technical assistance to landowners; provided habitat management workshops to 40,486 attendees; assisted U SDA with enrolling 90,000 acres of cropfield reflooding in the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative; and assisted 5,607 private landowners in controlling nuisance wildlife.
Protection—$13,860,700 Paid for law enforcement in every county as well as resource management, information, education and public service contact activities conducted by conservation agents who directly contacted more than 660,000 people. Coordinated the Share the Harvest program through which 5,731 deer hunters donated
305,643 pounds of venison to less-fortunate Missourians. Conservation agents, along with 1,800 volunteer instructors, conducted 877 hunter education classes, certifying 22,852 students.
Resource Science—$10,415,660 Provided the science-based information needed to effectively manage Missouri’s natural resources. Resource Science monitors the status of Missouri’s fish, forests, plants and wildlife, recommends conservation actions, evaluates these actions and reports the results. In addition to surveys of fish and wildlife, tens of thousands of Missourians were contacted to determine their outdoor activities and opinions about conservation programs.
Regional Public Contact Offices—$2,827,587 Provided regional public contact offices.
Administrative Services and Human Resources—$26,420,875 Paid for human resources, hunting and fishing permit point-of-sale and e-Permits system, fiscal services, purchasing, distribution center, print shop, fleet management, vehicle and equipment maintenance centers and information management and technology. Also includes other agency appropriations, Department-wide equipment and other essential services.
Design and Development—$10,254,894 Provided engineering, architectural, surveying and construction services for conservation programs and maintenance of conservation areas and facilities.
Administration—$3,163,614 Paid for audits, legal counsel and the coordination of strategic planning, federal reimbursement administration, environmental policy development, cultural resource reviews, public involvement and river basin management.
|Conservation Sales Tax||$95,818,337|
|Sales and Rentals||$8,825,875|
|County Assistance Payments||0.98%|
|Outreach and Education||9.49%|
|Private Land Services||4.53%|
|Regional Public Contact Offices||1.87%|
|Administrative Services & Human Resources||17.45%|
|Design and Development||.6.77%|
|Health & Social Services||39.8%|
|Natural & Economic Resources||2.9%|
|MDC represents less than 1% of the total state budget|
|Total State Budget||$24,608,785,560|
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