Management and Research

Conservation requires up-to-date knowledge about the status of wildlife populations and habitat. Not only do we need to know what we've got, we also have to be able to forecast and fend off threats to our ecosystems.

Mussels provide a good example. Current conditions threaten mussels in many Missouri streams. Researchers are trying to discover the cause of native mussel decline. At the same time, they are experimenting with culturing native mussels to keep species from going extinct.

The Conservation Department maintains a research facility in Columbia to monitor and improve Missouri's forests, fish and wildlife. Its efforts are supplemented by numerous "field staff," which include conservation professionals, university students and volunteer naturalists. Its knowledge base is further enhanced by studies being conducted by similar agencies in other states or by federal resource protection agencies.

The core philosophy guiding the Conservation Department's management and research efforts is biodiversity. Missouri is unique among states in that it represents a merging of ecosystems from the north, south, east and west. We want to maintain our natural wealth by keeping Missouri habitable and desirable for all native species.

Enhancement of Great Rivers Borders

PROPOSALS

  • To protect a band of land on the river side of levees as well as bluffs and bottomlands along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, either by purchase or easement from willing landowners, for wildlife and natural values management.
  • To restore bottomland lakes for marsh and aquatic wildlife.
  • To study effects of navigation and other channel projects on wildlife and fisheries, to include model study and other engineering techniques and bring about ecological diversity and improvement.

Keeping the Promises of Design:

  • Purchases of flood-prone land along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers have allowed the Conservation Department to provide a chain of wetlands that host waterfowl and reduce the impact of flood waters along the waterway.
  • Purchased flood-devastated bottomland from willing sellers at prices that, when added to the federal funds they received from Wetland Reserve Program and Emergency Wetland Reserve Program, provided a per-acre compensation equal to the value of prime farmland.
  • Biological data provided to the Corps of Engineers influenced the design of engineering projects for the benefit of fish and wildlife habitat along the big rivers.
  • Established a Long Term Resource Monitoring field station in the Lower Mississippi River, near Cape Girardeau, to monitor fish, water quality and vegetation in the Mississippi River and predict and protect against threats to the health of the river.

Wildlife Research

PROPOSALS

  • To widen the scope of existing research