MDC seeks public comment for four areas

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Kansas City
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Nevada, 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 three conservation areas in Vernon County and one area in Bates County. The public may view and comment on the plan during October.

To preview draft management plans and share comments online, visit

  • The 511-acre Douglas Branch Conservation Area is north of Nevada. This area has bottomland hardwood forest, a wet prairie, old fields, crop fields and some grassland. Hunting, hiking and birding are available on the area. Deer and small game hunting is available on the area. Audubon Missouri designated Douglas Branch an important bird area.
  • The 159-acre Flight Lake Conservation Area is northwest of Nevada. This area has a 42-acre managed wetland, 54 acres of native wet prairie, old fields and forest. The area offers waterfowl, deer and small game hunting.
  • Gama Grass Prairie Conservation Area is north of Nevada. A highlight of the area is 48 acres of unplowed native prairie. The 80-acre area also has some forest and old fields bordering the prairie. Wildflower walks and birding are popular at the area. Hunting is allowed.
  • Big Drywood Creek Conservation Area is a 13-acre area west of Nevada. The area has four wetland pools created as mitigation due to highway construction, where U.S. 54 crosses Big Drywood Creek. The area offers birding and some fishing opportunities.
  • In Bates County, MDC’s Ripgut Prairie Natural Area features 140 acres of native wet prairie dominated by prairie cordgrass. Total acreage for the area is 280 acres, and it borders the Bates County Drainage Ditch. The area also has forest, woodland, crop land and a small amount of wetlands.

Statewide, 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.

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 on 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.