Public Services

By | March 3, 2002
From Missouri Conservationist: Mar 2002

The Conservation Department makes a special effort to reach out to landowners. Private land makes up more than 90 percent of the state. The Department wants to develop a "culture of conservation" among private landowners to secure the quality of Missouri's lands, waterways, plants and wildlife.

With the creation of the Private Land Services division, the Conservation Department has paved the way for even more cooperation with landowners. Private Land Conservationists located throughout the state are able to provide landowners information about cost-share programs, grants and other assitance available. There is scarcely a landowner they can't help.

Field personnel have always been the front line of the Conservation Department. Although the number of full-time employees of the Conservation Department has nearly doubled since 1976, the emphasis has been on putting more agents in the field, more wildlife and forestry specialists in every county and more education consultants in urban areas. The number of people peforming the "field work" of conservation now dwarfs the number of central office workers.

In the modern era, the "field" has come to include urban and suburban areas. Though such areas may have little room left for forests, lakes or wildlife, they hold the majority of our citizens and, therefore, the future of conservation.

Many Conservation Department programs focus on bringing the miracles of the outdoors to our cities in the form of nature centers, educational programs, natural areas and opportunities for outdoor recreation. Exposure to natural things and processes is the best way to nourish an appreciation of them.triangle image

Wildlife Management Services


  • To provide technical service, advice and planting materials for landowners and to encourage good wildlife management practices by making more field service specialists available for direct assistance to landowners.
  • To expand the predator control program to incorporate all wildlife damage assistance on an extension basis, including problems with birds.
  • To increase short courses and outdoor clinics on wildlife management techniques and environmental improvements for the benefit of all landowners.
  • To intensify rural youth group programs with educational and planting material which could be adapted to almost any agricultural operation.
  • To develop and implement wildlife management plans, including planting materials, on all school-owned outdoor areas used for teaching purposes.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • The Conservation Department reaches out to landowners in many ways, giving advice, loaning equipment and, where appropriate, sharing costs for enhancements that benefit wildlife, forests and natural communities.
  • The Conservation Department created the Private Land Services Division to improve its ability to assist landowners in managing their land and in procuring state and federal assistance.
  • Wildlife Damage Biologists throughout the state provide information and equipment necessary for people to deal with wildlife damage. Urban Wildlife Specialists perform the same function in Kansas City and St. Louis.
  • The Show-Me Conservation Outdoor Classroom Grant Program helps provide outdoor learning sites at Missouri schools. Last year, 35 schools received $700 to $2,500 each in grant funds to promote conservation and environmental education.

Aquatic Wildlife Management


  • To strengthen and broaden the aquatic wildlife management work force of the Department. This is the backbone of the program for management practices on all waters of the state. Services to landowners include investigation of aquatic problems, remedial management advice, and development of management plans for new ponds and reservoirs. Management of public lakes and streams involves planning for future use, acquisition and development of lands and facilities, investigation of water pollution and other kinds of resource damage, evaluation and study of water development projects, fish population management and handling of many diverse and complex problems.
  • To develop a series of aquatic wildlife demonstration areas on Department-owned lands. Such areas would show sound management practices for private landowners.
  • To provide 80 small urban lakes and manage them for use by underprivileged and inner city residents. This would provide a badly needed recreational outlet and contribute to an appreciation of wildlife values.
  • To provide technical assistance, fish and wildlife plantings to land development lakes being constructed in urban areas to control runoff and silt in accordance with local regulations.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • Missouri offers a comprehensive package of cost sharing and incentives to private landowners wanting to improve streams that flow through their property. The package includes demonstrations and technical assistance in restoring and enhancing stream fishery habitat.
  • The Urban Fishing Program includes management and development of urban lakes, urban fishing clinics, stocking fish and other programs benefitting urban residents.
  • Each year, the Conservation Department sponsors, co-sponsors or assists with more than 200 Kids Fishing Clinics, Family Fishing Fairs or other special events.
  • Tens of thousands of Missouri landowners have benefitted from the Conservation Department's fishery management services for landowners. Services range from technical assistance to providing fish for planting in ponds.
  • Dedicated management programs have increased fishing opportunities for trophy bluegill, trout and smallmouth bass, and have established or improved muskie and walleye waters.
  • More than 35,000 people monitor the health of Missouri's waterways, thanks to the volunteer Stream Team program. The nearly 2,000 Stream Teams are coordinated by the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Members plant trees, pick up litter and trash and monitor the water quality of their adopted stream.

Forest Management Services


  • To expand urban forestry services in metropolitan areas to help maintain the values of trees and shrubs on public and private land.
  • To expand community forestry assistance to all Missouri communities by developing tree planting and maintenance plans for municipal and institutional lands which would preserve some of the benefits of a forest environment in towns. Included would be an option for limited cost sharing to buy planting stock for public properties.
  • To provide additional technical forestry assistance to rural landowners and the forest industry and to encourage and spell out forest practices for multiple use of private forest land.
  • To develop 45 acres of new seedbed facilities to meet growing demand for forest tree seedlings and wildlife shrubs.
  • To develop a forest resource planning unit to review environmental impact of projects on forest land and to work with Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other local governmental units in resource planning and management.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • The Conservation Department has increased the number of professional foresters throughout the state, including in urban areas, to offer landowners advice on forest improvement and marketing forest products and improving wildlife habitat.
  • Free technical assistance on planting new trees, care and maintenance of existing trees, and insect and disease diagnosis is provided to individuals, municipal governments, tree boards, commercial arborists, and nurseries and developers.
  • Urban foresters are located in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, Joplin, St. Charles, Eureka and Cape Girardeau. However, all forest regions provide urban forestry assistance.
  • The Missouri Forestkeepers Network educates Missourians about the care and management of Missouri's trees and forests and enlists volunteer support in monitoring forest health. Forestkeepers now number about 1,200 and represent 104 of the state's 114 counties.
  • The George O. White State Forest Nursery has been continually upgraded to meet an increasing demand from the public for tree seedlings. The nursery now ships more than 5 million trees per year.
  • A plant diagnostic laboratory and an entomology laboratory, both located in Columbia, provide forest health information to foresters and landowners.

Law Enforcement


  • To expand the number of protection personnel to meet other Department program needs.
  • To develop a research program in areas of wildlife law violation and enforcement procedures in order to streamline enforcement operations.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • The number of uniformed conservation law enforcement personnel has increased from 154 in 1976 to 200 in 2002. Education requirements have been continually upgraded, and today's training standards meet or exceed all requirements for Missouri peace officers.
  • In 1999, the Department entered into an interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. States participating in the compact (17 thus far) can recognize out-of-state violations of wildlife laws and out-of-state license suspensions as if they occurred in their own state.
  • Operation Game Thief allows citizens to call and report violations and collect rewards anonymously. An annual average of 200 arrests are made from these calls. A yearly average of $12,800 in rewards has been paid for information.
  • The Conservation Department has added new shooting ranges almost every year since the inception of Design for Conservation. In addition to 43 unsupervised ranges, the Department maintains five manned training centers: Forest 44 and August A. Busch ranges in the St. Louis Region, Lake City Range in Kansas City, Dalton Training Center near Springfield, and the new Parma Woods Training Center and Range in Platte County.

Information Program


  • To augment present information materials, such as motion pictures, slide talks and publications like the Conservationist and information bulletins and brochures.
  • To publish a series of high-quality field guides to flora and fauna and outdoor activities in Missouri.
  • To produce a series of school 'readers' or newsletters for use in Missouri classrooms.
  • To expand radio and television coverage of the outdoor scene by use of a mobile unit, self-contained, for production of sound and film material on site.
  • To expand exhibit construction.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • Each month, the Missouri Conservationist magazine provides free conservation information to nearly 500,000 families.
  • "Missouri Outdoors," the Conservation Department's television program, brings the outdoors into Missouri homes with award-winning features on subjects as diverse as caving, prairies, wildflowers, fishing, birding and endangered species.
  • Outside In, a 16-page, full color magazine for children, is included four times a year in the Conservationist and is distributed to Missouri schools for classroom use.
  • The Conservation Department provides weekly news reports and breaking news stories to state newspapers and TV and radio stations.
  • A quarterly newsletter, "The Resource," is distributed four times a year to teachers. The publication provides curriculum suggestions, and a calendar of courses, workshops and conferences related to conservation education.
  • Conservation nature centers and service centers offer modern exhibits on nature and the environment.
  • "Conservation on Call," a weekly radio program, informs listeners of upcoming outdoor events and activities, features interviews with experts on Missouri's fish, forest and wildlife resources and allows the public to call in questions to the Conservation Department's director, Jerry Conley.
  • Those interested in outdoor subjects can choose from a wide range of field guides, informational publications and videos produced by the Conservation Department. Many publications are free on request. Popular for-sale publications produced by the Department include Birds in Missouri, Missouri Wildflowers and Fishes of Missouri.
  • Kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade students throughout the state receive Woollyworm, Tadpole and Crawdad, respectively. The student newspapers help children understand conservation concepts.
  • The Conservation Department website <> provides a wealth of easy-to-find information about natural subjects and conservation areas and activities.

Conservation Education Services


  • To locate on Department lands a system of Conservation Interpretive Centers, built on a theme of the prevailing habitat (water, marsh, upland, forest, etc.). Each would be a regional services center, staffed with personnel to help solve landowner problems and answer questions about wildlife, fisheries and forestry management. Each area would, even though it might be a hunting and fishing area, also serve as a demonstration area. Personnel would work from these centers in a several county area, formulating management plans and solving landowner conservation problems. Each center would have audio and visual exhibits, as well as informed personnel to interpret for visitors.
  • To conduct leadership seminars and teacher workshops in environmental awareness in the search for solutions to environmental problems.
  • To broaden the hunter and gun safety education program.
  • To help establish and implement a conservation curriculum in all elementary and secondary schools. To furnish advice and materials, including plantings, for outdoor laboratories or nature study areas.
  • To establish a staff of educators equipped to bring field trips to schools without access to outdoor laboratories.
  • To expand help to youth groups and camps.
  • To develop and distribute specific packets directed to wildlife, forestry and environmental education and management.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • The Conservation Department has constructed conservation nature centers in St. Louis, Blue Springs, Springfield and Jefferson City. A conservation nature center in Cape Girardeau is being planned.
  • The newly opened Discovery Center in Kansas City will enable inner city residents to learn about conservation and stay in touch with nature.
  • Demonstration practices have been installed on conservation areas and on private lands to help landowners improve the productivity of their land while benefiting wildlife.
  • In 1988, hunter education became mandatory for all Missouri hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967. Nearly 1,000 hunter education classes, taught by outdoor skills supervisors, conservation agents and more than 1,800 volunteer hunter education instructors, certify 28,000 to 30,000 hunters each year.
  • The Conservation Department conducts a variety or workshops, courses and camps, many offering college credit, to acquaint teachers with outdoor activities and help them include environmental education into their classrooms.
  • Education consultants are stationed in each of the state's 10 regions to assist teachers working to develop outdoor classrooms and to provide natural resource information to their students.


Update: The duties of protection agents have grown to include a coordinated program of education, information, law enforcement and one-on-one contacts. About 10 percent of the Conservation Department's budget goes to equip, staff and operate the Protection Division.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer