OSAGE COUNTY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is in the multi-year process of updating Conservation Area Management Plans and is seeking public input on how conservation areas are important to Missourians. A draft management plan for Ben Branch Lake Conservation Area (CA) is available for public review through Aug. 31. To preview this draft management plan and share comments online, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
Ben Branch Lake CA contains 563 acres of woodland, upland forest, old fields, impounded water, forest, and open land in Osage County. MDC manages this area for restoration and maintenance of natural communities, habitat for wildlife populations, and compatible recreational opportunities. Ben Branch Lake CA offers a concrete boat ramp, a primitive campground, and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible fishing jetty/platform for public use.
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.