Conservation Commission names Tom Draper MDC Interim Director

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Conservation Commission has named Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Deputy Director Tom Draper as interim director of the state conservation agency effective July 16. The temporary appointment comes after the announcement in early June that MDC Director Robert Ziehmer is stepping down as agency director effective July 15 to continue his conservation career through a new endeavor in the private sector.

“The Commission unanimously and enthusiastically supports Interim Director Draper,” said Commission Chairman Dave Murphy. “The Commission is confident in his abilities to continue to advance this agency and its services to meet the needs of Missourians and to protect and promote the fish, forest, and wildlife resources of the Show-Me-State.”

Draper has served the Department as deputy director of Resource Management and as chairman of the Regulations Committee since 2010. Prior to that, he was a regional supervisor in the Department’s Forestry Division.

Draper has been in the conservation field for more than 41 years and brings a wealth of experience that will benefit the agency in his new role. He has worked as a forester for the last 35 years, with 27 of those in Missouri. He has actively engaged with private landowners and focused on public-land management with an emphasis on wildlife habitat establishment, forest management including timber sales, and fire management including wild fire suppression and prescribed fire. He has been married to Diane, a retired teacher, for 38 years and they have three grown children and one grandson. 

Search criteria and a nationwide recruitment effort for the agency’s director position are being developed by the Conservation Commission.

The Missouri Department of Conservation serves the people of Missouri by protecting and managing the fish, forest, and wildlife resources of the state. The state conservation agency also facilitates and provides opportunities for all Missourians to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources. Learn more at