MDC seeks public input for Spring Creek Watershed priority geography public lands

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KIRKSVILLE, 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.

A draft plan for the Spring Creek Watershed priority geography public lands is available for public review June 1 - 30. MDC invites comments from recreational users, neighboring landowners, conservation groups, elected officials, government agencies, and other interested persons or groups. To preview the draft management plan and to share comments online, visit

The Spring Creek priority geography encompasses one of the best and largest prairie and savanna communities in the state and represents a variety of habitats and land uses, which support a host of species across their continuum. The state endangered Mead's milkweed and the state and federally endangered Topeka Shiner and Indian bat are found in the area. At its core, management in the Spring Creek Watershed is about focusing resources in a limited geography to conserve and improve the natural resources.

The Conservation Department manages four areas that represent 18.2 percent (8,510 acres) of the 46,795-acre Spring Creek Watershed priority geography. The areas include Dark Hollow Natural Area (NA), Morris Prairie Conservation Area (CA), Shoemaker CA, and Union Ridge CA. MDC manages all four areas to provide diverse habitat for fish, forest, and wildlife while offering the public compatible outdoor recreational opportunities.

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.