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From Missouri Conservationist: Jan 2012

Legal legacy

In his article, Missouri’s Unique Conservation Legacy [November], Brett Dufur did an outstanding job describing our state’s deep-rooted interest in preserving our natural resources. I would like to add a couple of footnotes to his excellent article.

As he stated, the Missouri Conservation Commission was created by constitutional amendment. The authority of this Commission was challenged in court and resulted in the landmark 1938 Missouri Supreme Court decision Marsh v. Bartlett. Mr. Marsh was charged with catching a large mouth bass in Dallas County during the closed season, was convicted and fined $10.00. In upholding the constitutional amendment that created the Commission, the Missouri Supreme Court found that, in the exercise of its police power, the state could regulate and control game and fish within the state, not for its own use as proprietor, but as a representative of the people in their united sovereignty. In following this decision, Missouri courts have uniformly recognized that the ownership of the fish in a Missouri stream belongs to the state until actually reduced to possession of an individual at a time and in a manner permitted by law.

The 1920 case of Hobart-Lee Tie Co. v. Grabner noted that in the beds of “Ozark streams, there are shoals and bars which furnish a happy camping ground for the erstwhile fisherman” and that in these “swift and beautiful” waters “an occasional rapid joins in the chorus of nature.” State v. Wright (1919) noted that the Current River is a “fine fishing stream,” and the 1954 case of Elder v. Delcour took judicial notice of the publicly known fact that “the Meramec River has long been known as a very popular fishing stream.” The 1973 case of Burk v. Colley acknowledged that the “cool, clear and sparkling waters” of the Current River are part of “many a float fisherman’s fondest memory.”

For 75 years, the Department of Conservation has been at the forefront of protecting our state’s streams, forests and other natural resources which, as noted by the author and conservationist Leonard Hall in his book, Stars Upstream, are assets that “can shrink, but never grow.”

W. Dudley McCarter, former president of The Missouri Bar, Via Internet

Details exposed

Thanks to Noppadol Paothong for including the exposure information for the great photographs in his article Eagles on the Mississippi [December]. I don’t expect you to include exposure info for every single photo that appears each month, but it’s very nice to have it for what I will call “wildlife portraits” like these. Good job by the editors; great photography by Mr. Paothong!

Rick Headlee, Springfield

Brains and humor

Chmielniak’s cartoon in the November 2011 issue means a lot to me. Why? In the early ‘80s I was in the backyard with my son (then 5 or 6 years old) when a flock of geese flew over, honking and flying in a V. I was about to tell my son that geese always fly in a V when he said, “Look, Dad, they are flying in a SEVEN.” Indeed they were. I have since noticed that geese rarely ever fly in a V; usually 7’s, X’s, W’s, Y’s and checkmarks, but rarely in a V. To this day, when I am dealing with someone who sees things differently than I do, I remember what my son taught me: Everyone sees things a little differently.

Claud Moore, Shell Knob

Trash talk

I purchased my Illinois land in 2005 and for several years tried to pick up all the trash that accumulates with annual floods. I wish people were more cognizant of what they put into our waterways. Thanks for drawing attention to this issue that affects everyone who enjoys our rivers and streams [“Agent Notes”; October].

Mike Billman, Prairie City, Ore.

This Issue's Staff

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