Barry County fire department receives state honor from MDC

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SHELL KNOB, Mo. – Partnerships play important roles in many of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) efforts. A great example of the invaluable assistance a partner can provide is the role the Central Crossing Fire Protection District in Barry County has played in MDC’s ongoing monitoring of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in southwest Missouri.

On Thursday, Oct. 20; Central Crossing Fire Chief Rusty Rickard was presented the MDC Resource Management Branch State Partnership Award in a small ceremony at the Central Crossing District Firehouse near Shell Knob. The Central Crossing Fire Protection District became eligible for this award by getting the Resource Management Branch’s regional partnership award earlier in October. This award honored the assistance Central Crossing has provided to MDC for several years in the agency’s ongoing surveillance of CWD – a disease that is fatal to deer. Central Crossing’s assistance to MDC’s CWD efforts has come in multiple forms:

  • Beginning in 2017, MDC has used the Central Crossing Fire Protection District Headquarters as a mandatory sampling collection site during the opening weekend of the November portion of the firearms deer season.
  • CWD public meetings were held at Central Crossing’s District Headquarters in 2019 and 2020.
  • Central Crossing’s facilities were also the site of three landowner focus group meetings in 2022.
  • Central Crossing’s maintenance building has served as the headquarters for CWD winter operations that MDC has conducted in Stone and Barry counties from Jan. 16-March 15 each of the past three years.
  • Central Crossing has provided indoor and outdoor storage for UTVs, trailers, and refrigeration units which were used to store sampled deer until they were delivered to local meat processors.

“Thanks to the efforts of Central Crossing Fire Protection District and Chief Rickard, MDC has been able to combat chronic wasting disease more efficiently,” said MDC Southwest Region Education Branch Supervisor Warren Rose. “By using the station as headquarters for our mandatory sampling efforts and winter operations, hundreds of staff hours and thousands of miles have been saved. Plus, on mandatory sampling weekend, this location is easy to find and is located on the main road, which makes it easy for the public to bring deer to have samples collected. It’s a win for the community as well as MDC, and we are most grateful."