This summary of the Annual Report highlights the Missouri Department of Conservation’s accomplishments and expenditures from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. These accomplishments are based on the Department’s five main goals. 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.
Healthy Forests, Fish, and Wildlife
Wild elk returned to Missouri after 150 years. MDC, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries captured elk in Kentucky during December and January (2010–11 and 2011–12). MDC and the Missouri Department of Agriculture developed protocols to ensure the health of livestock and wildlife once elk were released. After health protocols were met, 34 elk were moved to Missouri in 2011 and 35 (plus a newborn calf) in 2012. The elk were kept in a holding facility on Peck Ranch Conservation Area (CA) for about a month to allow acclimation and to complete health protocols. In 2011, all elk were released on Peck Ranch CA. In 2012, some elk were released on Peck Ranch CA while others were moved to a release site on The Nature Conservancy property. Currently, auto routes are open on parts of Peck Ranch CA to allow visitors to view elk.
Both Ozark and eastern hellbenders are listed as state endangered, and on Nov. 7, 2011, the Ozark hellbender was added to the federal endangered species list. MDC’s Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery and the Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation at the Saint Louis Zoo are devoted to hellbender propagation. In the fall of 2011 was the world’s first breeding of a captive Ozark hellbender at the Saint Louis Zoo. About 150 Ozark hellbenders were hatched.
Wildlife Code Enforcement
MDC enforces laws in the Wildlife Code, as well as other state laws for the safe public use of MDC-owned lands. Conservation agents contacted 200,714 hunters and anglers last year to ensure compliance and provide regulation information. During these contacts, agents noted 27,288 resource violations, issued 3,631 written warnings and made 7,256 arrests. Missouri elk
Black Bear Research
In 2010, MDC, in cooperation with Mississippi State University and with funding from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, began the first Missouri black bear research project. From July 2010 to May 2012, 45 bears were captured and tagged. Of those, 28 were males and 17 were females. Bears that were large enough were fitted with a radio collar. Our population estimate is 108 bears for the southwest portion of the study area.
National Fish Habitat Initiative
The National Fish Habitat Partnership has included Table Rock Lake on their ten waters to watch list. The designation is due to on-going efforts to improve habitat through the National Fish Habitat Initiative and More Fish Campaign. There have been 1,460 brush structures, 104 rock piles, 49 stump fields, 11 rock/ stump combos, and 26 rock fences installed.
Chronic Wasting Disease in Missouri
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal disease that affects deer, elk, and other cervids. Since it’s discovery in 2010, CWD has been found in 11 captive cervids and five free-ranging deer in Macon and Linn counties. As part of the MDC’s ongoing efforts to monitor the disease, we will continue testing hunter harvested deer in the CWD containment zone. MDC also is working with area landowners to limit the prevalence and spread of CWD. With the help of hunters, MDC has tested more than 35,000 free-ranging deer for CWD statewide since 2002.
Manage Lands in Public Trust
Community Fisheries Assistance
Through the Community Assistance Program and the Corporate and Agency Partnership Program, MDC has agreements (usually 25-year) with cities, counties, state and federal agencies, businesses, foundations, schools, and colleges to provide fisheries management at lakes and ponds and cooperatively develop and maintain facilities for anglers at lakes and streams. MDC has agreements with 117 partners for the cooperative management of 168 public lakes, 42 stream-access areas, four lake-access areas, and 10 aquatic education ponds.
Cold-Water Fish Hatcheries
MDC stocked 1,451,984 trout among five trout parks, 12 stream special management areas, and Lake Taneycomo. Anglers purchased 310,212 daily adult tags, 62,007 daily youth tags, and 88,699 trout fishing permits.
Warm-Water Fish Hatcheries
In 2011, 6.4 million fish were stocked in public waters. Highlights include: 216,821 hybrid striped bass, 5,346 muskie, 3,222 pallid sturgeon, 3,683 paddlefish, 12,899 advance-sized largemouth bass, 7,803 hybrid sunfish, 177,392 channel catfish, more than five million walleye fry, and more than 1.5 million walleye fingerlings were stocked in Missouri waters.
State Forest Nursery
The state forest nursery annually grows and distributes about million seedlings of more than 60 species. The seedlings are planted on public and private land. The nursery filled more than 10,700 orders with more than 21,600 packages of seedlings.
Forest and Woodland Improvements
We improved forests and woodlands on 49,687 acres of state land. This included thinning young trees on 1,775 acres, eradicating invasive plants on 3,416 acres, post-sale cultural work on 1,421 acres, prescribed fires on 9,756 acres, 114 acres of tree planting, and harvest of 8,578 acres.
MDC conducted habitat management on more than 191,000 acres of public land including: 39,000 acres of wetland, 23,000 acres of woodland/forest/savanna, 80,000 acres of cropland 67,000 acres through permittee farmers and 13,000 acres in food plots), 29,000 acres of grassland/prairie, 19,000 acres of old fields, and 1,000 acres of glade.
Golden Anniversary Wetlands
MDC is rehabilitating five of our oldest wetland management areas through the Golden Anniversary Wetlands Initiative. Work at Ted Shanks and Montrose conservation areas is complete. Fountain Grove Conservation Area (CA) pump design and installation is underway. Schell Osage CA work will begin in FY14. Duck Creek CA construction is about 50 percent complete. A second $1 million North American Wetland Act grant was awarded to MDC to support the second phase at Duck Creek CA. Duck Creek Conservation Area is one of five wetland areas that MDC is rehabilitating through the Golden Anniversary Wetlands Initiative.
New Office in the Central Region
MDC opened a new Central Regional Office and Conservation Research Center in Columbia. The facility houses 120 employees formerly housed at two facilities, laboratories, a 100-seat conference room, and a lobby where the public can pick up free brochures and obtain hunting and fishing permits. The building incorporates green building concepts.
Sound Financial Accountability
MDC employs one internal auditor who performs regular, independent audits to ensure that public funds are expended in a responsible manner. In fiscal year 2012, there were no major findings noted with the business practices reviewed.
We completed analysis for the Land Tracking System, the Infrastructure Inventory System, and the Enterprise GIS Repository. These systems will significantly improve MDC’s ability to manage public land and infrastructure.
Listened to Missourians
Part of delivering excellent service is listening and understanding what Missourians say about conservation programs and services. In FY12 there were 52 activities that involved 72,061 people. These included surveys, focus groups, open houses, comments and presentations to the Regulations Committee, and contacts with MDC’s ombudsman.
Find MO Fish Mobile Phone Application
This free mobile application shows a map of Missouri with the locations of public boat ramps to the major lakes, rivers, and streams. The map also shows the location of underwater fish structures MDC has placed. With the geo-location feature, anglers can guide their boat to a fish attractor.
Discover Nature Schools
Discover Nature Schools helps teachers engage students in hands-on, outdoor learning. Thus far, 53 schools taught the primary unit, 403 schools taught the elementary unit, 272 schools taught the middle-school unit, and 110 schools taught the high school unit. Conservation grants supporting Discover Nature Schools totaled $212,246.
Technical Assistance to Landowners
MDC served landowners through approximately 71,579 rural and urban contacts, including more than 7,000 on-site visits. Staff answered 5,088 wildlife nuisance or damage assistance requests, including 1,000 on-site visits.
Private Lake and Stream Management
We responded to 4,974 requests for watershed, floodplain, riparian corridor, stream or lake management information, and/or technical assistance. We made 660 on-site visits. On-site work included 119 fish-population surveys, 14 renovations, and 40 fish-kill investigations. Staff conducted 12 stream or lake management workshops for 298 people. We also coordinated or participated in 28 watershed-management projects.
75th Anniversary Celebration
MDC celebrated 75 years of Missouri’s unique, citizenled conservation. The celebration included a half-hour TV program, special events, publications, and Missouri Conservationist magazine articles that will culminate in a book. As part of MDC’s 75th Anniversary, we hosted a photo contest. More than 1,880 people submitted almost 13,000 photos in seven categories.
Peregrine Falcon Web Camera
MDC, Ameren Missouri, and the World Bird Sanctuary provided citizens with a view of peregrine falcons raising chicks in a nesting box at Ameren’s Sioux Energy Center in Franklin County. The camera was live for viewing from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week on each partner’s website. Viewing was available until the falcon’s five young left the nest.
Engage Partners at All Levels
Wetland Restoration Assistance
Since 1992, MDC has assisted the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in restoring critical wetlands. Over the past two years, Missouri has received about $43 million to assist landowners in wetland restoration. Missouri has 1,000 easements covering 139,815 acres through the Wetland Reserve Program.
Missouri has 3,796 active Stream Teams statewide. Volunteer activities included removing 459 tons of trash, planting 5,254 trees, and hosting 1,228 events.
Community Tree Care
MDC’s Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance cost-share program provided $271,306 to fund the 37 best applications. Successful applicants receive 60 or 75 percent of their total project in cost share within specified limits. The applicant provides the remaining balance. Applicants matched the MDC contribution by 46 percent providing $233,973 in local match.
Joplin Tornado Assistance
MDC worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State Emergency Management Agency to evaluate all remaining trees in the areas primarily effected in Joplin and Duquesne. Two Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance grants were provided to the City of Joplin. Four plans for three Joplin parks were completed. Financial assistance was provided to Forest ReLeaf of Missouri to expand their tree nursery to provide trees to Joplin and Duquesne in the coming years. With partial funding from the U.S. Forest Service State and Private Forestry, MDC worked with the City of Joplin to plant more than 2,500 trees, distribute hundreds of trees to homeowners, and coordinate numerous offers of financial assistance, as well as more than 9,000 hours of volunteer time.
Share the Harvest
Conservation agents coordinate and support the Share the
Harvest program with the Conservation Federation of Missouri, local charitable organizations, and local meat processors. In 2011, approximately 6,191 hunters donated 317,882 pounds of venison to less-fortunate Missourians.
Stream Stewardship Trust Fund
The Stream Stewardship Trust Fund is available to restore, enhance, and/or protect streams and their surrounding habitats. The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation runs the program, and MDC applies for grants. Last year, seven projects costing $763,896 were approved.
Volunteer Fire Departments
MDC, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, granted 371,101 to 185 volunteer fire departments. The grants fund protective clothing, equipment, and training. Equipment was also provided through two federal programs. Through the Federal Excess Property Program we obtained equipment valued at $427,287. The new Fire Fighter Program obtained equipment valued at $13,165,721. Since 1951, we have assigned more than 70 million in equipment to volunteer fire departments.
In FY12, MDC cooperated with fire departments across the state to suppress 3,505 wildfires that consumed 35,141 acres. The main cause of wildfire is the use of fire to dispose of debris.
Fiscal Year 2012 Summary
County Assistance Payments—$1,498,157 Paid county levee and drainage district taxes, forest cropland payments, in lieu of real estate taxes, and county aid road trust payments. Since 1980, paid more than $15.9 million to Missouri counties in lieu of real estate taxes.
Capital Improvements—$18,008,745 Constructed, renovated, and repaired fish hatcheries, river accesses, wetlands, shooting ranges, nature centers, and facilities statewide; and acquired land.
Fisheries—$12,882,551 Managed sport fish populations, aquatic biodiversity, and aquatic habitats. Managed 1,012 areas for fishing, and assisted 5,734 landowners with stream and lake management. Stocked about 9.1 million fish in public waters.
Forestry—$18,438,507 Distributed about 3 million seedlings to 10,700 landowners, provided forestry assistance on more than 52,088 acres of private land and to more than 150 municipalities, managed 438,700 acres of public forest, monitored insect and disease threats, and facilitated development of the state’s forest industry.
Wildlife—$19,099,360 Managed more than 525,000 acres of public land and implemented programs to maintain and restore natural communities and wildlife diversity statewide.
Outreach and Education—$15,417,635 Nearly 800,000 visited nature centers and shooting ranges, more than 500,000 subscribed to the Missouri Conservationist, more than 120,000 subscribed to Xplor, and more than 5.5 million visited MDC’s website. Also provided more than $200,000 in grants to schools, conservation curriculums for schools, outdoor skills programs, and hunter education.
Private Land Services—$7,307,532 Made 71,579 rural and urban landowner contacts, affected 237,290 acres through technical assistance to landowners, provided habitat management workshops to 41,000, assisted 5,088 landowners with nuisance wildlife, and assisted with the formation of 18 landowner cooperatives.
Protection—$15,245,000 Provided wildlife law enforcement in every county as well as resource management, information, education, and public service. Conservation agents contacted 718,796 people. Coordinated the Share the Harvest program. Conservation agents, along with 1,136 volunteers, conducted 905 hunter education classes, certifying 21,975 students.
Resource Science—$10,985,166 Monitored the status of Missouri’s fish, forests, plants, and wildlife, recommended conservation actions, evaluated these actions and reported the results. Contacted tens of thousands of Missourians to determine their outdoor activities and opinions about conservation programs.
Regional Public Contact Offices—$2,720,688 Provided regional offices to directly serve Missourians.
Administrative Services—$24,722,804 Paid for hunting and fishing permit sale systems, fiscal services, purchasing, distribution center, and sign shop. Provided agency-wide postage and printing services, fleet management, vehicle and equipment maintenance, and other agency appropriations. Includes information management and technology that supported all computers, software, telephones, and other telecommunications systems.
Human Resources—$2,499,008 Provided the services to recruit, employ, and train employees.
Design and Development—$12,464,762 Provided engineering, architectural design, cultural resource review, surveying and construction, as well as maintenance of conservation areas and facilities.
Administration—$1,620,110 Provided audits, legal counsel, strategic planning coordination, federal reimbursement administration, environmental policy development, public involvement, and river basin coordination.
By the Numbers
Conservation Sales Tax - $100,566,000
Permit Sales - $32,850,045
Federal Reimbursements - $25,141,633
Sales and Rentals - $7,480,667
Other Sources - $3,320,018
Interest - 308,776
Total Receipts - $169,667,139
County Assistance Payments - 0.92%
Capital Improvements -11.06%
Fisheries - 7.91%
Forestry - 11.32%
Wildlife - 11.72%
Outreach and Education - 9.46%
Private Land Services - 4.49%
Protection - 9.36%
Resource Science - 6.74%
Regional Public Contact Offices - 1.67%
Administrative Services - 15.18%
Human Resources - 1.53%
Design and Development - 7.65%
Administration - 0.99%
Missouri State Budget
Health & Social Services - 42.1%
Education - 25.6%
Government Services - 19.5%
Transportation - 9.4%
Natural & Economic Resources - 2.8%
Conservation - 0.6%
MDC represents less than 1% of the total state budget
Total State Budget - $24,952,863,105