MDC welcomes public input on Four Rivers area plan

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Nevada, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to know your suggestions for the August A. Busch, Jr. Memorial Wetlands at Four Rivers Conservation Area in Vernon and Bates counties. MDC is in the multi-year process of updating management plans for almost 1,000 conservation areas throughout the state and invites public comments.

MDC is inviting public comment at the Four Rivers Conservation Area to aid staff in developing a 10-year management plan for the area. Interested persons or groups are invited to bring their ideas to an open house 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9, at the Four Rivers office, 4347 W. 1625 Road, Rich Hill, Mo. MDC welcomes input on the plan from recreational users, neighboring landowners, conservation groups, elected officials and government agencies.

The public is welcome to share ideas, compliments or improvement suggestions with MDC staff at the open house. Staff will answer questions about management practices at Four Rivers or about conservation in general. Visitors will also be able to fill out comment sheets. More information about the open house is available by calling 417-876-5226.

The public is also invited to share ideas online now through June 15 at

Four Rivers is a premier wetland and bottomland forest destination for hunters, birders, hikers, photographers and naturalists. The Marmaton River, Little Osage River, Marais des Cygnes River and Osage River all run through or border the almost 14,000-acre 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.