MDC Notable News from 2016

News from the region
Published Date

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – 2016 was a year of change for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) with the addition of a new director, additional lands open for public use, renovations to facilities, state fishing records, and more.


  • In September, the Conservation Commission selected Sara Parker Pauley as the new director of MDC. Pauley started on Nov. 1. Prior to becoming the Department’s ninth director and first female to hold the position, Pauley served as the director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 2010. She replaced Bob Ziehmer, who left the Department in July to pursue a career in the private sector.
  • MDC added 10 new conservation agents in October from its 2016 agent trainee class. The new agents join the 180 existing MDC agents in serving and protecting Missouri’s fish, forests, and wildlife resources.
  • MDC added Blue Spring Branch Conservation Area in Perry County to the more than 1,000 conservation areas around the state.
  • MDC added new exhibits at Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center in Blue Springs and Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City.
  • Hunting and fishing permits got a new look in 2016 when more than 700 vendors around the state started using new computer-based technology to sell permits. Hunters and anglers also got new and improved hand-held technology through the Department’s increasingly popular MO Hunting and MO Fishing free mobile apps, including being able to buy permits right from their mobile devices.
  • The award-winning Missouri Conservationist magazine went high-tech through MDC’s new MO CON MAG free app for mobile devices and an online “flipbook” format.
  • In May, MDC broke ground on its new August A. Busch Memorial Shooting Range and Education Center in St. Charles.
  • MDC expanded its winter trout fishing program by adding two new lakes for a total of 32. The lakes are Krug Park Lagoon in St. Joseph and Legion Lake #1 in Perry County.
  • MDC and participating landowners added more than 6,300 acres of private land around the state for public hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing through the Department’s new Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP).


  • The Missouri Stream Team Program received the Excellence in Conservation Award from the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for its work through more than 5,300 Stream Teams with nearly 90,000 volunteers statewide.
  • East Elementary in Waynesville, Hermann Middle School, and Cross Keys Middle School in Florissant were the winners of the 2016 "Yes You CAN Make Missouri Litter Free" trashcan-decorating contest sponsored by MDC and the Missouri Department of Transportation.
  • Hurley Elementary School First Grade, Matthew Cook of Lincoln R2 Elementary, Amaya Marion of St. James the Greater, and Oakville High School were winners of the MDC 2016 Discover Nature Schools Science Fair.
  • Bates County Conservation Agent Don Tiller received a House Resolution from Representative Patricia Pike for being Missouri’s 2016 Outstanding Conservation Agent.
  • Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors Jim and Peggy Ragland of Florissant received the Volunteer Hunter Education Hall of Fame Award for their life-long efforts in supporting hunter education.
  • MDC named Dale and Julie Garner of Springfield co-recipients of its annual Hunter Education Volunteer Instructor of the Year award. Bob Mallery of Wright City was named Missouri State Bow Hunter Education Instructor of the Year. David Cantoni of O’Fallon received the Missouri State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year award.
  • FlipKey, a company operated by TripAdvisor, named Columbia, Missouri, as one of the top six cities in the country to visit and listed Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City as a top area attraction. 
  • Laclede County Conservation Agent Jarad Milligan received the National Wild Turkey Federation's Missouri Wildlife Officer of the Year award.
  • Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood celebrated 25 years of serving nature and you.


  • MDC joined more than 30 other agencies and organizations to develop a collaborative monarch and pollinator conservation plan called Missourians for Monarchs. The plan is being used as a national model for other states and has a goal of creating 19,000 acres of pollinator habitat per year in Missouri.
  • MDC expanded its Rod and Reel Loaner Program to 86 locations throughout the state, such as public libraries, city and county parks and recreation departments, marinas, MDC regional offices and nature centers, and state parks. The program provides free fishing equipment for loan.
  • MDC and the Missouri Bird Conservation Foundation launched the Great Missouri Birding Trail website at to encourage birdwatching and provide birder resources.
  • MDC and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service offered $925,000 to private landowners for wetland improvements in Missouri. This funding marks the first year in an anticipated three-year project that will provide more than $2.7 million directly to Missouri private landowners for conservation.


Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish, especially for 14 folks who caught state-record fish in 2016. Congratulations to these recent record holders!

  • Shane Doherty of Fort Scott, Kansas, caught a 2-pound-2-ounce gizzard shad measuring 19 and 13/16 inches by pole and line at a private strip pit in Vernon County.
  • Brent Newton of Holts Summit hooked a record 2-pound-17-¼-inch goldeye on the Osage River using a rod and reel.
  • David Burle of Bloomsdale shot a 59-pound-8-ounce black buffalo caught with archery equipment on Duck Creek Conservation Area - Pool 1.
  • Travis Cardona of Hillsboro topped Burle’s record by shooting a 74-pound black buffalo on a lake at Duck Creek Conservation Area using a bow and arrow.
  • Steve Wengler of St. Louis hooked a 2-pound-5-ounce skipjack herring on the Mississippi River using a rod and reel.
  • James Lucas of O’Fallon snagged a 1-pound-10-ounce skipjack herring with a length of 16 1/2 inches on the Mississippi River. James Lucas also set a state record by catching an 8-pound-6-ounce hybrid striped bass with a length of 24 3/4 inches and a girth of 18 1/2 inches on the Mississippi River with a throwline.
  • Mark McArtor of Camdenton topped Lucas’ record by catching a 9-pound-1-ounce hybrid striped bass with a length of 27 inches on the Lake of the Ozarks with a jug line.
  • Dan Schmitz of Jefferson City hooked a 9-pound-13-ounce river redhorse on Tavern Creek using a rod and reel.
  • James Wright of Cape Fair hooked a 3-pound-4-ounce white bass with a length of 18 3/4 inches on Table Rock Lake on a trotline.
  • Joshua Cole of Reeds Spring shot a 30-pound-15-ounce freshwater drum that was 33 inches long and had a girth of 30 inches on Table Rock Lake using a bow and arrow.
  • Jason Reynolds of Warsaw hooked a 2-pound-11-ounce spotted bass with a length of 17 1/2 inches on Truman Lake on a jug line.
  • Jonathon Randall of Conception Junction shot an 11-pound-2-ounce river carpsucker with a length of 25 1/2 inches and a girth of 20 1/2 inches with his bow and arrow on Smithville Lake.
  • Colby Conn of Everton hooked a 1-pound-5-ounce white crappie with a length of 14 5/16 inches on Stockton Lake on a trotline.
  • Austin Campbell of Harrisonville hooked a 2-pound-1-ounce white crappie with a length of 15 1/2 inches in a Cass County irrigation pond on a trotline.


  • MDC recognized Steve Lovell of Iron County as Missouri’s 2016 Tree Farmer of the Year for his outstanding efforts in managing the forest resources on his property.
  • MDC awarded more than $411,000 to 41 Missouri communities this year through its Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant program. TRIM grants provide cost-share funding for government agencies, public schools, and nonprofit groups to manage, improve, or conserve trees on public lands.
  • Tom Martin of Birch Tree was named Missouri’s 2016 State Logger of the Year for his quality work on private, state, and federal-land timber sales across the Ozarks.
  • In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, the MDC awarded nearly $338,500 in grants to 156 rural fire departments for the purchase of equipment to help fight wildfires. MDC’s federal excess property program provided 62 vehicles for conversion to response-ready vehicles and more than $3 million in smaller equipment and supplies.
  • 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of Tree City USA and MDC honored the 88 participating Missouri communities through a celebration at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis.
  • MDC and the Missouri Community Forestry Council recognized Martha Clark of St. Joseph, Heartland Tree Alliance of Kansas City, and the City of Kirksville with Missouri Arbor Awards of Excellence for their significant and long-lasting efforts to care for the trees in their communities.


  • New regulations that prohibit the hunting of feral hogs on areas owned and managed by MDC became effective at the end of September. Hog hunting by individuals hampers MDC efforts to trap and shoot groups of feral hogs on conservation areas. Department staff and partners killed nearly 4,700 feral hogs in 2016.
  • MDC changed regulations related to smallmouth bass and rock bass fishing to create a standard 15-inch minimum length limit for smallmouth bass and a daily limit of one for all Smallmouth Bass Special Management areas. The regulations also expand these areas on the Big Piney, Jacks Fork, Big, and Meramec rivers. The regulation changes also set a statewide length limit of seven inches for rock bass and removed the Osage Fork of the Gasconade River from the Rock Bass Special Management areas. The changes become effective on March 30.
  • MDC initiated mandatory sampling of deer harvested in 29 counties in northeast, central, and east central Missouri on opening weekend of the November firearms deer season to test them for chronic wasting disease.

Learn more about these and other MDC happenings at