I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: April 2017

Missouri citizens are crucial partners in the department’s efforts to protect the state’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources. Sam Hardy (left), St. Peters, and Jeff Batemen, western St. Charles County helped MDC gather critical information about lake sturgeon and confirmed, for the first time, that the fish naturally reproduce in the wild. The species was nearly extinct in the state, and, in 1984, in hopes of spurring recovery, MDC staff began to raise them in department hatcheries and release the fingerlings into Missouri rivers. It takes the fish up to 30 years to reach reproductive maturity, so when Hardy called to report seeing what looked like spawning activity while out paddlefish snagging, MDC biologists were very excited. “We had never before been able to confirm lake sturgeon spawning in Missouri,” said MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Travis Moore. “But Sam’s report was timely and we were able to get staff there to confirm hatching of eggs at that site.” Moore emphasized the importance of citizen reports. “Missouri is home to thousands of miles of rivers and streams,” said Moore. “MDC staff can’t be everywhere, so we have to rely on reports from the public.” Batemen’s report of a lake sturgeon in Dardenne Creek was very helpful to researchers in tracking lake sturgeon movement. “We just didn’t expect a lake sturgeon to be over 30 miles up this small stream,” said Moore.

—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

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