MDC seeks public input for Cooley Lake management plan

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Liberty, 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. Draft plans for the Cooley Lake Conservation Area in Clay County will be available for public comment in June.

To preview draft management plans and share comments online, visit

MDC’s Cooley Lake Conservation Area features two distinct natural habitat covering 1,345 acres in Missouri River bottom lands and in bluffs overlooking the valley. A centerpiece is Cooley Lake, a 335-acre Missouri River oxbow that offers prime wetland habitat. Forest and woodland habitat is found on the bluffs and in the bottoms. A viewing platform overlooks the valley and the lake atop the bluff. The area is popular for birding, fishing and some types of hunting. A Missouri River access is also managed as part of the area.

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.