By Kristie Hilgedick
With emerald ash borers confirmed in Missouri, Department of Conservation foresters say homeowners need to make plans now to protect or replace their ash trees.
At the start of 2015, the borers had been positively identified in 11 Missouri counties, including the Kansas City region, the southeastern part of the state, and St. Charles County.
However, the Missouri Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the insects have been found in the St. Joseph area (Buchanan County), both the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, another location in southeastern Missouri (Oregon County), and in Hannibal (Marion County), which represents the first detection in the northeastern part of the state.
Missouri now has 15 counties and the City of St. Louis with known beetle populations.
An emerald ash borer is an Asian beetle that tunnels under the bark of an ash tree, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients and eventually killing the tree. When fully developed, the dark-green, metallic beetle is about a half-inch long.
Larvae leave S-shaped tunnels under bark and adults emerge from D-shaped exit holes. As their numbers grow, more damage occurs.
If homeowners live within 15 miles of where the borers have been detected, they will need to decide if they want to save a valued ash tree by beginning treatments next spring or if they want to plant another species as an eventual replacement. In time, all untreated ash trees in areas harboring the beetles are expected to succumb.
Ash trees can be protected. Treatment costs vary by the size of tree and type of treatment used. The cost can be as little as about $25 annually for a do-it-yourself treatment on a small ash tree, and as much as a few hundred dollars to hire a professional arborist to prevent infestation in a larger ash tree, which cannot be effectively treated on a do-it-yourself basis.
Because insecticides are most effective from early May to June when adults are active and larvae are beginning to develop, it’s too late to respond this year. However, some treatments may need to be applied earlier in the spring to be most effective when adults emerge later.
Most of the emerald ash borer movement is due to the transportation of firewood. To help slow the spread of the pest, Department foresters recommend that firewood not be moved from one area to another. People burning wood, including campers, are urged to buy locally harvested wood.
All Missouri counties are now under a federal and state quarantine preventing the movement of ash nursery stock, any parts of ash trees, and hardwood firewood out of the state of Missouri.
For more information about emerald ash borers, visit on.mo.gov/1V6zONT.
When Missouri hunters head into the woods this fall, they may see white-tailed deer wearing collars as part of a five-year study designed to evaluate the species.
The Missouri Department of Conservation and the University of Missouri are working together to learn more about white-tailed deer survival, reproduction, and movement patterns. The findings will be incorporated into population models, disease management protocols, and localized deer management efforts.
The project began in January 2015 in four Ozark counties (Douglas, Howell, Texas, and Wright) and four northwestern counties (Andrew, DeKalb, Gentry, and Nodaway).
Last winter, 100 bucks and does of various ages were captured and fitted with GPS collars and small metal ear tags. Researchers also captured and fitted 56 fawns with smaller radio collars this past spring. All collared deer were immediately released and their movements monitored.
It’s very important that hunters do not let the presence of a collar influence their decision to harvest a deer, Resource Scientist Emily Flinn said.
“To ensure data collected during the study is accurate and reflects what actually happens to the herd, we don’t want to alter what occurs during the deer hunting season,” Flinn said.
The Department asks hunters to call the phone number on the collar or ear tag to report a harvested collared deer so additional information can be obtained. The data will be incorporated into population models, which are one of management in Missouri.
The project will have a long-lasting influence on Missouri’s deer management strategy and is made possible through the tremendous support and involvement of private landowners who allow research activities to be conducted on their properties.
Financial assistance is provided by wildlife restoration funding, derived from taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment paid by hunters.
People interested in learning more about this research project can visit on.mo.gov/1QXjQ8q.
Discover Nature Schools provides the balance young learners need between screen time and outdoor time.
Developed by the Missouri Department of Conservation, Discover Nature Schools started in 2006 as a science program for middle school students. Today, the curriculum has expanded to reach children of all ages and can be found in 99 percent of the state’s public school districts. “Discover Nature Schools is growing quickly,” said Kevin Lohraff, education programs/curriculum supervisor for the Department. “It’s successful because it engages students in outdoor learning and it helps teachers reach their goals.”
Featuring Missouri species and habitats, the curriculum is designed so teachers can conduct the activities in their own schoolyards, and students can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the world immediately around them. The program offers free teacher guides, student books, and no-cost teacher training by the Department’s education consultants. Grants help provide classroom equipment and field experiences for students.
“Those outdoor field experiences — where students wade in streams, fish in ponds, and hike in forests — are particularly critical,” Lohraff said. “Hands-on activities in nature are designed to teach students by accommodating the way they actually learn — by moving around and having their senses fully engaged. The curriculum helps kids think and act like scientists and teaches them to appreciate Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife.”
Lohraff said learning in nature also improves physical and mental health, reduces attention deficit problems, and improves test scores. “We help kids discover and connect with nature,”
Educators and parents interested in learning more about the Discover Nature Schools program are invited to contact the Department. Complete units and grant guidelines are available at MissouriConservation.org/15642. To reach one of the Department’s education consultants, scroll down to “Who’s My Local Contact?” and select the applicable county.
Discover nature every day, all year long with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2016 Natural Events Calendar — on sale now. This annual offering features stunning nature photography and daily notes about wild happenings.
The 2016 edition includes information on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly — a declining species and key pollinator — as well as numerous photographs of the state’s natural treasures. Daily notes remind readers of what might be blooming, nesting, shoaling, hatching, peeping, etc. in a field or forest nearby.
The perennially popular calendar measures 20-by-14 inches when open. Along with amazing images of native animals, plants, and places, it includes basic phases of the moon, numerous holidays and days of recognition, monthly lists of wildflowers in bloom, and more.
At a cost of $7 plus tax, the calendars are available for purchase at the Department’s nature centers and regional offices, by calling 877-521-8632, or by visiting mdcnatureshop.com.
Many Missouri families can’t afford to put highquality, low-fat red meat on the dinner table. Deer hunters can help by sharing their harvests through Missouri’s Share the Harvest program.
The venison-donation program connects deer hunters with hungry Missourians through participating meat processors and local hunger-relief agencies around the state.
In 1992, a group of bowhunters in Missouri began the program to share the deer they harvested with those less fortunate. Since then, Missouri hunters have donated more than 3.3 million pounds of venison through Share the Harvest. Last year, nearly 4,000 hunters donated more than 212,000 pounds of venison.
The program is administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM), with support from numerous sponsors.
To participate, hunters simply take their harvested deer to one of more than 130 participating meat processors around the state and let the processor know how much venison they wish to donate to the program. Hunters can donate any amount from a few pounds to a whole deer. The processor will package the ground meat, which will be given to local charitable agencies for distribution to hungry Missourians.
The cost of processing is the hunter’s responsibility, but funds are available to help with processing costs when a whole deer is donated. CFM reimburses processors a predetermined amount for each whole deer donated. This allows processors to reduce the processing fees to hunters. In addition, many processors have local funds available that allow deer to be processed for free or at a reduced cost. Contact individual processors to determine if local funds are available.
To find participating processors, pick up the 2015 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet at Missouri Department of Conservation offices and nature centers, where hunting permits are sold, or online at mdc.mo.gov. For more information on Share the Harvest
and providing processing funds, visit on.mo.gov/1LAJVc9.
Deer are browsing animals, eating the leaves, twigs, and fruits of trees and shrubs, and the foliage of herbaceous plants. They also eat seeds, fungi, mosses, lichens, succulent grasses, farm crops, and sometimes small amounts of animal food like snails and fish. The peak of the mating (rutting) season is November. Most young are born in late May or early June. A doe usually has twins, each weighing 4–7 pounds at birth. Fawns are reddish, brown, or reddish-yellow spotted with white. They lose their spots and acquire uniform coloration between 3 and 5 months of age. The young accompany the female until they are old enough to breed. About half of the young females in Missouri breed in the year of their birth.
—photograph by Noppadol Paothong
The right book can make the perfect gift, and this year the Missouri Department of Conservation has two suggestions for outdoor enthusiasts.
Waterfowl Hunting and Wetland Conservation in Missouriintroduces readers to
Missouri’s unique conservation heritage with a richly illustrated volume featuring color photographs, historic black-and-white images, and reproductions of works of art. Authored by veteran wildlife biologists and wetland managers, the 480-page coffee table book chronicles and celebrates the state’s waterfowl conservation successes.
Considered by many a must-read for serious migratory bird hunters, all net proceeds from the book’s sales are dedicated to wetland and waterfowl conservation.
Selling for $40, plus tax and shipping, the book is a cooperative effort of the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Ducks Unlimited, Bass Pro Shops, and other conservation and hunting organizations.
A second book, Voices of Missouri’s Rivers, explains how clean flowing water is vital to sustaining the lives of all Missourians.
Written by retired Fisheries Division Chief William Turner, the 360-page book, which sells for
$19.50 plus tax and shipping, explores the natural and cultural history of Missouri’s rivers.
Highlights include an explanation of basic river science and a glimpse into the future of river conservation.
“The stories of Missouri’s rivers are very much the stories of its people,” said Turner, who holds a master’s degree in aquatic ecology, has taught college-level river science, and helped establish a statewide river conservation program in Missouri.
Also available for the hard-to-buy-for friend or family member is a resident lifetime conservation partner hunting and fishing permit. For more information about this permit, visit on.mo.gov/1NRH5SS.
Hunters and anglers care about protecting fish and wildlife
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler