Note To Our Readers

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From Missouri Conservationist: Oct 2014

The Missouri Model of Wetland Conservation

Private citizens, the Missouri Department of Conservation, federal refuges, and Ducks Unlimited joined together to create one of the best waterfowl management programs in the nation. The Missouri Model of wetland management continues to evolve and grow as wetlands and their dynamic functions become increasingly important to society.

A new book, Waterfowl Hunting and Wetland Conservation in Missouri, highlights this model of collaboration that has created today’s system of wetlands throughout Missouri. Just like a new dawn on a marsh, this book shares the past, present, and hopeful future of wetland conservation. Learn about Missouri’s unique wetland history and directly support wetland conservation in the state for future generations. All net proceeds will go directly into conserving Missouri’s wetlands for the future.

Today’s duck hunters, bird watchers, and wetland enthusiasts owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who helped create this wetland system. What’s the best way to pay it forward? By supporting wetland conservation with your time, money, and resources, and by helping wetlands continue to grow and remain relevant in tomorrow’s world.

Missouri lost 90 percent of its historic wetlands through the years. Reestablishing, reconnecting, and managing some of those wetland systems will ensure that annual wetland bird migrations are a part of our children’s future. This unique relationship of birds, habitat, and people continues to excite Missourians every spring and fall.

Early visionaries included Ted Shanks, Mike Milonski, and Dick Vaught. These three men, along with others, planned and guided wetland conservation in Missouri. Ted Shanks’ simple vision for Missouri’s waterfowl and wetland management evolved into five principles:

  1. Acquisition, development, and management of a system of state-owned wetland conservation areas
  2. A strong partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. Recognition that private landowners provide important waterfowl habitat and ultimately these lands determine the fate of waterfowl in Missouri
  4. A foundation for collaboration among government agencies and nongovernment organizations (in this case most notable Ducks Unlimited)
  5. Commitment to science-based management delivered through strong partnerships between researchers and managers

These visionary principles are just as important today. Wetland conservation and management of wetland species is a national and international cooperative management effort.

As this book indicates, Missouri’s goals have been to preserve the state’s wetlands, restore functionality to historical waterfowl areas, and ensure that citizens have ample opportunities to use those areas. Not only is the Missouri Model of wetland management alive and well, it is thriving and continues to evolve and grow in stature. Missouri’s wetland jewels draw millions of migratory waterfowl and wetland birds each spring and fall. This annual Grand Passage of wetland birds relies on that critical habitat as part of the annual journey.

Whether it’s the cupped wings of a mallard, a little green heron in flight, sora rails walking across a marsh, or the return of the majestic trumpeter swan, the Missouri Model of wetland conservation ensures that healthy, functioning wetlands continue to benefit future generations of Missouri. Just as Missouri citizens guided this process, Missouri citizens will determine the future of wetland conservation in our state.

Tim Ripperger, deputy director

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Managing Editor - vacant
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Brett Dufur
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler