MDC seeks ideas about future management of the Upper Mississippi Conservation Area

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West Alton, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to know what Missourians think about its nearly 1,000 conservation areas around the state. MDC is in the multi-year process of updating management plans for conservation areas and invites public comments.

The Upper Mississippi Conservation Area is among the areas under review. The Upper Mississippi Conservation Area is stretched along the Mississippi River from West Alton to Canton Missouri. There are a number of separate management units spanning the counties of Lewis, Marion, Ralls, St. Charles, Lincoln, and Pike.

MDC is inviting public comment regarding The Upper Mississippi Conservation Area to aid staff in developing a 10-year management plan for the area. Interested persons or groups—including recreational users, neighboring landowners, conservation groups, elected officials and government agencies—are invited to view the proposed management plan by going to The plan includes a link for supplying comments and input.

The plan will remain available for public comment during the month of October. The public comment period for the Upper Mississippi Conservation Area plan will close Oct. 31.

The Upper Mississippi Conservation Area, rich in wildlife and habitat diversity, stretches from the Melvin Price Lock and Dam at Alton, Illinois, to LaGrange, Missouri. It is composed of 87 tracts of federal lands totaling over 11,000 acres and managed under a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These tracts are mostly forest along with old fields and wetlands. The area contains waterfowl blinds and Westport Island Natural Area, which is a bottomland wet-mesic forest.

Conservation area management plans focus on natural resource management and public use on conservation areas. The plans do not address regulations on hunting, fishing and other area uses, which are set by the Conservation Commission and enforced under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. MDC will consider all ideas received and will work to balance the issues and interests identified with the responsibility of managing areas for the present and future benefits to forest, fish, wildlife, and people.

Decisions on which ideas to incorporate into area plans and how to best incorporate them will be based on the property's purpose, its physical and biological conditions and capabilities, the best roles of the property in its local, regional and state-wide context, and on the professional expertise of MDC staff.

MDC conservation areas cover almost one million public acres for the purpose of restoring and conserving forest, fish and wildlife resources, and for providing opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy and learn about these resources. Most Missourians are within a 30-minute drive of an MDC conservation area.