I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: July 2016

Effective wildlife management is bigger than any single conservation area. Wildlife need habitat corridors that connect them with foraging and mating opportunities. The Missouri Department of Conservation created Conservation Opportunity Areas (COA) to address this concern. The idea is to get public and private landowners across a designated landscape to work together toward common wildlife management goals. Since 93 percent of Missouri is in private ownership, private landowners play a key role in the success of this management strategy. Marvin “Bud” Zumsteg owns 510 acres within the Missouri River Hills Conservation Opportunity Area. Zumsteg’s property, and the habitat work he has done, plays an integral role in the COA’s overall wildlife management goals. He has been doing wildlife management on the area for over 40 years, but we started working with the Department in 2008 to create a comprehensive forest stewardship and wildlife management plan. “I don’t know why I didn’t work with them sooner,” said Zumsteg, who has completed nearly 400 acres of timber stand improvement. In addition, his habitat work includes opening glades, improving wetland habitat, and installing food plots. “The objective is to create a forest and wildlife utopia with the material we have,” said Zumsteg. “It’s a lot of work, and sometimes you don’t get rewarded right away. But you just have to stick with it. You build the right habitat, and they will come. I’ve been all over the world, and there is no place, in my opinion, that matches the opportunities in Missouri.”

—photograph by David Stonner

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler