Good management decisions are based on good information, and the Department depends on a variety of sources. Two of the most important are research and public feedback.
Throughout the history of the Conservation Department, public input has been a key component and starting point for making decisions that affect the future of forests, fish, and wildlife in the state. A citizen’s committee led the effort to establish the Department, and Missouri citizens continue to be important partners for advancing conservation.
The Department gathers feedback year-round, through a variety of venues and methods. For example, last summer the Department gathered public input on the deer management plan and proposed regulation changes from deer hunter surveys, 14 open houses around the state, and a dedicated website comment page. Nearly 4,000 comments were received from open houses, online, and through Department regional offices in addition to the survey responses. As a result of that public input, coupled with biological considerations, seven recommendations are being considered for the 2016–2017 deer season. There will be further opportunities for public review of those recommendations online and at open houses this spring.
The Department also manages nearly 1 million acres for conservation and public use in Missouri. Conservation area plans, which include natural resource management and public use opportunities, have a 30-day public comment period, so interested citizens can give feedback on the area. These finalized plans are then posted online and at Department offices for easy public access.
Additional feedback is gathered from annual and multiyear surveys, stakeholder meetings, community presentations, social media, emails, letters, and through open public meetings of the Department’s regulations committee and the Conservation Commission. Department staff also meet directly with landowners, hunters, anglers, birders, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts in all areas of the state to better understand their conservation needs.
Public input is not only vital to the work we do, but an integral part of our mission to manage and protect the forests, fish, and wildlife resources for all to enjoy. It is where we intentionally begin each day, as we have for the past 78 years, so that we can help make a positive difference for the future of conservation in Missouri.
Thank you for being an important part of conservation! Your efforts and feedback make a difference.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director
Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler