MDC seeks public input for Four Rivers area plan

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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 the August A. Busch Jr. Memorial Wetlands at Four Rivers Conservation Area. MDC earlier held an open house and accepted comments on plans for the area. A final draft of a plan will be available for public comment through Jan. 31. To preview draft management plans and share comments online, visit

The August A. Busch Jr. Memorial Wetlands at Four Rivers, at 13,929 acres, is a major public waterfowl hunting area in Missouri that also offers important habitat for non-game species such as shorebirds. The area is about 15 miles north of Nevada and five miles south or Rich Hill in Vernon and Bates counties.

Four Rivers is a premier wetland and bottomland forest destination for hunters, birders, hikers, photographers and naturalists. The Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Osage River and Muddy Creek all run through or border the area. Four Rivers has four major wetland units and is designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Missouri. The area includes the Horton Bottoms Natural Area. A boardwalk in Unit 3 adjacent to the Ducks Unlimited Presidents Marsh provides easy access to view emergent vegetation and wildlife.

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.

"Missourians care about conservation and use conservation areas for many different reasons," said MDC Director Bob Ziehmer. "These areas help people discover nature through various activities, and help make Missouri a great place to hunt, fish, and enjoy other outdoor activities. We want to know how conservation areas are important to Missourians. Encouraging public comments on Conservation Area Management Plans is part of MDC's ongoing efforts of working for and with Missourians to sustain healthy forests, fish and wildlife."

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.