MDC seeks public input for Schell-Osage Conservation Area long-range management plan

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Schell City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) continues to seek public input as it enters the next phase of the planning process for Schell-Osage Conservation Area in Vernon and St. Clair counties. From May 1 through May 31, MDC invites public comment on a draft version of the Schell-Osage Conservation Area 10-year management plan.

In winter 2016-2017, MDC gathered public comment regarding management of the conservation area. Over the past year and a half, MDC staff have developed a draft management plan for the area, taking the previous round of comments into account.

These efforts constitute MDC’s multi-year process of updating Conservation Area Management Plans using public input on how conservation areas are important to Missourians.  To preview the draft management plan for Schell-Osage Conservation Area and share comments online, visit 

Schell-Osage offers a wide mix of natural habitats and outdoor recreation opportunities. The 8,600-acre area has two large lakes and several small ponds. One of the large lakes, Schell Lake, is slated to be part of a major bottomland  renovation to make improvements for fishing and wetland habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds. The improvements will also reduce damages from periodic flooding. The area also has upland forest, woodlands, a remnant prairie and restored natural grasslands. A portion of the area borders the Osage River arm of upper Truman Lake. Fishing, hunting, birding, and hiking are among the activities available at 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.