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From Missouri Conservationist: Oct 2009

Float on

I can identify with the frustration expressed by Mr. McHaffie in the July Conservationist about floaters disrespecting private property.

I’ve floated Missouri streams for 40 years, and I’ve seen lots of messes left by inconsiderate floaters, careless fishermen and partiers. It is my belief, however, that most people who float primarily because they love the outdoors respect both the river and riverside landowners. We leave gravel bars cleaner than we found them because we know that the future of floating depends on good relations with landowners. The future quality of our rivers, though, is largely in the hands of those private landowners. That’s why programs like Stream Team and the Department’s Private Land Services are so important. They recognize needs and concerns on both sides of the waterline, and by working hand-in-hand with landowners, not against them, can help achieve our common goal—clean resources for all of us to use and enjoy.

Loring Bullard, author, May Day on the Finley

Behind the Code

I just had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed reading Mandate of the People [Inside Front Cover] by Larry Yamnitz. When I opened your August issue and paused to read what he had to say about our Wildlife Code and conservation laws and how these laws were established, I felt that we were in good hands.

Everyone should read this article and be informed about the good job the Conservation Department and its conservation agents do for the benefit of the people.

Bonny Briggs, Independence

Fish kills

Thanks for the news brief on fish kills [Fish Kill Toll Continues; Page 10] in the August issue. It is extremely important for Missourians to know the vital role they play in protecting our natural resources by being alert and reporting cases—both intentional and accidental—of spills that affect Missouri’s waterways.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which works with the Department of Conservation in the investigation of fish kills, has a hotline for reporting environmental emergencies: 573-634-2436. This line is answered by Department staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From this central number the Department can dispatch environmental emergency responders to any location in Missouri. The Department also has a toll free number for concerns that are not emergencies: 800-361-4827.

Alice Geller, acting director, Field Services Division Department of Natural Resources

Mailbox frogs

I love the photo of the tree frog on the cover of the August issue! The contrast between the bright green back and the dark front of the frog is quite striking. I have many of these little singers by my house, lovely to hear each night. They are starting to show up in my mailbox, I’m not sure how. I take them in my wet hands and introduce them to a suitable tree, because they are not called “mailbox frogs.”

Mary Garrett, St. Peters

Native beauty

I was so glad to see your article about wild grapes [August; Page 9], they are an unsung fruit here in Missouri. My grandmother, Esther Stilfield, and mother, Helen Owen, were great proponents of using what the land gave. Every year we picked bushels of the little bunches for that dark purple juice. Mom made the best jelly for us and to give away. I never knew any other until my teens and can remember tasting jelly from the store and saying it had no flavor. Wild grapes are part of the old way of life that is missed out on by so many people.

Frank Owen, Maysville

Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and may be edited for length and clarity.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler