News and Almanac

Lisa Allen is new state forester

Howell County native Lisa Allen assumed duties in March as Missouri State Forester and Forestry Division Chief. In announcing her appointment, Conservation Department Director John Hoskins noted Allen’s passion for forest stewardship and her vision for the future of forest management in Missouri.

Allen has worked for the Conservation Department for 20 years, serving in jobs ranging from assistant resource forester to Private Land Services Division Chief. She said her goal is to use partnerships to advance healthy, diverse and sustainable forests in both rural and urban areas.

She also said the Forestry Division faces several challenges, including:

  • Managing uncontrolled fire, disease and insects.
  • Land conversions that result in smaller, fragmented forests.
  • Informing and educating Missourians about the benefits and importance of forests in maintaining healthy ecosystems that enhance quality of life.
  • Maintaining a quality work force in the Forestry Division during a period when there is a shortage of professional foresters.
  • Maintaining healthy and sustainable forests on private land, which contains 82 percent of the state’s forests, as well as on public land. These forests support a wood-products industry that annually generates $4.4 billion in economic activity, creates $54 million in state sales tax revenue and supports approximately 32,250 jobs.

Allen is the eighth person and the first woman to hold the title of Missouri State Forester.

Water for Wildlife

A water garden can draw animals that hop, fly and creep into your landscape. Native plants enhance the attractiveness of water gardens to wildlife.

Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata), with its tall, purple flower spikes and arrow-shaped leaves, is a good nectar source for butterflies and other insects. It roots easily and blooms from June through October.

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) thrives in water gardens and is a magnet for cloudless sulfur butterflies and hummingbirds when it blooms in August and September.

Another native must-have for water garden areas is marsh milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Not only does it provide nectar for all kinds of butterflies, it supplies food for larval monarchs.

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a excellent addition to large water gardens with marshy edges. Hummingbirds, butterflies and other insects are drawn to its white, nectar-filled blossoms that resemble starbursts. It blooms in May and creates thickets that provide shelter for birds and small mammals.

Another good addition to a marshy edge is Emory’s sedge (Carex emoryi), it has grass-like leaves that bend and flow with the wind. It spreads rapidly, so it is useful where erosion may be a problem.

Combining native plants with water features creates a complete habitat that is a wildlife haven. For a guide with suggestions for creating a wildlife water garden, contact Barbara Fairchild, barbara.fairchild@mdc.mo.gov and ask for “Natives for Your Home”, or send your request to Grow Native, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. To learn more about Missouri’s native plants, visit their web site.—Barbara Fairchild

WOW in St. Louis

It’s a great time to be outdoors, so step into Mother Nature’s classroom for a great outdoor adventure! Join us on Saturday, June 10, at Forest Park in St. Louis from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Wonders of the Outdoor World (WOW) St. Louis Outdoor Event.

Participants will master new outdoor skills or improve existing ones. An optional overnight camp will be offered on Friday, June 9, that will feature storytelling by Bobby Norfolk, stargazing and a camp out—right in Forest Park! The WOW event features hands-on classes in a variety of outdoor skills, including fishing, camping, archery, orienteering and canoeing. It also features a climbing wall. A fee of $10 covers meals, equipment and course instruction. Space is limited! To register, call (314) 340-5794.

Powder Valley’s May Nature Programs

St. Louis area residents can enjoy nature programs from Lewis and Clark to logging lore at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center (CNC) this month. At 7 p.m. May 5, visitors will be treated to a description of the adventures of the Corps of Discovery by a living historian portraying Corps member George Droulliard. At 10 a.m. May 6, join an Ozark laborer for a description of earning a living chopping railroad ties for a dime each in the late 1900s. At 7 p.m. May 12 join Wild Heart, formerly Critter Rock, for a musical romp through the outdoors. At 7 p.m. May 19, join living historian Willie Lyles for a visit with York, Capt. William Clark’s “manservant.” Discover how the Corps of Discovery’s only African-American member made history and helped ensure the expedition’s ultimate success. Powder Valley CNC is at 11715 Cragwold Road in Kirkwood. Reservations are required for all programs. For further information about these and other upcoming offerings, call (314) 301-1500.

Native plant field day set for June 23

The MU Bradford Research and Extension Center near Columbia, Mo., will host its second Native Plant Field Day from 9 a.m. to noon on June 23. Participants will learn about uses of native plants for landscaping and backyard wildlife. Other topics will include rain gardens, native plants for wildlife management, restoration of natural plant communities, and the use of native plants in agriculture. The day will include indoor and outdoor demonstrations, booths and tours. The event is free and open to all. Additional information is available at online, or from Thresa Chism or Tim Reinbott, (573) 884-7945 or Nadia Navarrete-Tindall, NavarreteN@missouri.edu.

May’s stringerful of fishing events

Spring is the season for anglers, as demonstrated by a full calendar of events. The International Federation of Black Bass Anglers’ National Crappie Buddy Tournament is May 13 at the Runaway 2 Resort, Lake of the Ozarks. Boat and bank anglers compete in separate divisions. Exciting activities are provided for youths. For more information, visit www.ifbba.org, and click on “Crappie Tournament.”

The Lost Creek Bass Club’s Take a Kid Fishing Tournament is May 13 at the Port of Kimberling Marina, Table Rock Lake. This benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation features payouts for big bass and the largest other species caught by a youth angler, and a drawing for a 2006 Harley-Davidson Buell Blast. For details, call (417) 887-1640 or (417) 634-3969.

Kids’ Fishing Day events at Missouri’s four trout parks each have their own flavor, with free food, fishing equipment giveaways, fishing contests, attendance prizes, demonstrations and displays all day long. The fun starts May 13 at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon. Call (417) 532-4418 for details on this event. The other three events are on May 20. Call (573) 548-2585 for information about Montauk State Park’s celebration, (417) 847-2430 for Roaring River State Park’s event information, and (573) 265-7801 for details of the event at Maramec Spring Park.

Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery will host a family fishing fair from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. June 10. Visitors can learn how to choose baits, cast, and clean and cook fish. The Fishin’ Magicians comedy team will perform, and other activities and crafts will provide fun for all ages. No reservations are needed for this free event. The hatchery is 5 miles south of Branson on Highway 165 next to Table Rock Dam. Call (417) 334-4865, ext. 0, for details.

Quail unlimited to hold national convention in Kansas city

“Flight to the Future” is the theme of Quail Unlimited’s national conference, which will be held in Kansas City July 26–30. The event, which draws hundreds of citizen quail conservationists from around the nation, will be headquartered in the Westin Crown Center.

The event will kick off July 26 with a tour of quail habitat partnerships with the Conservation Department and private landowners. Participants also will get a comprehensive overview of quail biology, habitat and management.

The convention gets in full swing July 28 with three full days of activities, including the State of the Quail Address, conservation seminars, prescribed fire and herbicide workshops and sessions on youth education, improving QU chapter success and many other topics. Those who attend the July 29 luncheon can bid in a live auction for shotguns, hunting clothing and other quail-hunting gear.

The convention runs concurrently with the Heartland Wildlife Expo, which will bring more than 200 outdoor vendors and exhibitors to the Crown Center Exhibit Hall. Included is the King of Bucks collection, the Warrior race car, dog-training seminars, hands-on kids activities, wildlife biologists who will develop custom management plans for landowners, and a drawing for a free all-terrain vehicle.

Helping bobwhite quail raise families

May 2006 - Volume 67, Issue 5

Bobwhite quail are nesting this month. If you want to encourage them, put off mowing or haying until mid-July. Here are some other things you can do to help ensure the future of bobwhites on your land.

  • Clip weeds in newly planted fields of warm-season grasses to a height of 4 to 6 inches.
  • Use herbicides to set back established stands of warm-season grasses, making fields more accessible and productive for quail.
  • Plant shrub lespedeza seed at a rate of 8 pounds per acre for summer food and cover.
  • Plant food plots of milo and corn for winter food and cover.

For help managing your land for quail and other grassland wildlife, request a free copy of “On the Edge: A Guide to Managing Land for Bobwhite Quail” by writing to Missouri Conservation Department, “On the Edge: A Guide to Managing Land for Bobwhite Quail,” P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180 or e-mail pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov. For help implementing the advice in the booklet, contact the Conservation Department office nearest you and ask to speak with a private land conservationist. See page 1 for a listing of regional office phone numbers.

Keep a lookout for Missouri’s Most Unwanted – the zebra mussel

Missouri boaters, anglers and other water enthusiasts need to be on the lookout to prevent this aquatic nuisance species from spreading to our lakes and streams. This Caspian Sea native has hitchhiked to many areas of the country, including the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, causing economic, ecologic and human health impacts along the way.

Overland transport on boats, motors, trailers and aquatic plants is one way zebra mussels spread. Adult zebra mussels can live for several days out of water, and their microscopic larvae can survive in boat bilge water, livewells, engine cooling water systems and bait buckets.

To help prevent the spread of zebra mussels:

  • Inspect your boat and trailer thoroughly, and remove any trash, mussels or aquatic weeds before leaving any water body.
  • Drain water from the motor, livewell, bilge and transom wells, and any other water from your boat and equipment before leaving any water body.
  • Dump leftover bait on land, away from the water.
  • Rinse your boat, trailer and equipment (including livewells, bilge, and cooling systems) thoroughly with hard spray from a garden hose, and allow to dry for at least 48 hours. If your boat or equipment was used in zebra mussel-infested waters, use HOT (104 degrees) water, like that found at a do-it-yourself carwash.
  • Dry your boat, motor, trailer and equipment thoroughly in the hot sun before using it again.

Zebra mussel adults have a distinct triangular-shaped shell, with a variable striped pattern, and can grow to a size of about 2 inches. Most are fingernail-sized.

To report a potential zebra mussel sighting or for more information, contact your nearest Missouri Conservation Department office (see page 1 for a listing of regional office phone numbers), or go online.

River management symposium

A Missouri River management meeting May 9–12 will bring together people from several states with the theme “Collaborating in the Current.”

The event combines the 10th Annual Missouri River Natural Resources Conference and the Eighth Biennial River Management Society Symposium in South Sioux City, Neb. Participants will include representatives of wildlife agencies from seven Missouri River states, including Missouri, with river management professionals from seven states and Canada. The goal of both groups is to share information and build partnerships in river management. Topics to be discussed include endangered species, invasive species, recreational use economics, hydropower licensing, water quality and American Indian water rights. Visit www.river-management.org for more information.

Conservationist of the Year

Ron Coleman of Wildwood is the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s 2005 Conservationist of the Year. The award recognizes Coleman’s 30 years of work in such diverse areas as developing hiking and biking trails, organizing a wildlife art festival, stream restoration, urban parks, state parks, greenways and political activism to ensure the future of Missouri’s sales tax for parks and soils.

In addition to the overall conservationist award, the Conservation Federation annually recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations in specific types of conservation. This year’s honorees included:

  • Professional Conservationist of the Year Jennifer Battson
  • Youth Conservationists of the Year Dane Balsman and Patrick “Neal” Hutton
  • Conservation Communicator of the Year Steve Brigman
  • Conservation Educator of the Year John “Jack” Bowles
  • Hunter Education Instructor of the Year William “Jake” Jacoby
  • Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Nick Prough
  • Water Conservationist of the Year honors went to The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks
  • Conservation Organization of the Year went to The Ozarks Wilderness Waterways Club

To learn more about the Federation and the Conservationist of the Year awards, visit www.confedmo.org or call (573) 634-2322.

Nominate Citizen Conservationists by June 15

Do you know someone who has made outstanding contributions to conservation in Missouri? Why not nominate them for the two highest honors bestowed by the Missouri Conservation Commission the Master Conservationist Award or the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame? The Master Conservationist Award honors living or deceased citizens while the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame recognized deceased indivuals. Those who can be considered for either honor are:

  • Citizens who perform outstanding acts or whose dedicated service over an extended time produces major progress in fisheries, forestry or wildlife conservation in Missouri.
  • Employees of conservation-related agencies who perform outstanding acts or whose dedicated service over an extended time produces major progress in fisheries, forestry or wildlife conservation in Missouri.
  • In addition the Master Conservationist Award can also be conveyed upon:
  • Former Conservation Commissioners who provided outstanding leadership as commissioners and perform outstanding acts as citizens in the conservation of fisheries, forestry or wildlife.

Anyone can submit a nomination, which should include a statement describing the nominee’s accomplishments and a brief biography. Please submit nominations by June 15th to Janet Bartok, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, Mo. 65102 or email Janet.Bartok@mdc.mo.gov

A screening committee appointed by the Conservation Department’s director meets semi-annually to consider nominees with the Conservation Commission conveying final approval.

Missouri’s Outdoor Women

Fresh air, sparkling water and the company of other women who enjoy the outdoors will make the Missouri’s Outdoor Women gathering June 9–11 a weekend to remember. The event is a chance for women to learn or hone outdoor skills with the help of expert instructors.

The event will be held at the Windermere Conference Center, a state-of-the-art facility on 1,300 acres at Lake of the Ozarks. Workshop offerings will include fly-fishing and fly tying, basic fishing, an all-day canoe trip, Dutch oven cooking, watercraft operation and archery, handgun, rifle and shotgun shooting.

The early registration deadline is May 1. Late registrations will be accepted until June 2. For more information, contact Regina Knauer, Regina.Knauer@mdc.mo.gov, (417) 895-6880 or (573) 751-4115, or Jackie Keller, Jackie.Keller@mdc.mo.gov, (573) 751-4115, ext. 3292.

Hunting gear led gains among sporting goods sales

Sales of hunting-related equipment experienced a whopping 8 percent jump in 2005, leading all other categories, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The trade group’s report “The Sporting Goods Market for 2005” estimates sales of hunting-related gear at $2.8 billion. The next-largest gain was in tennis-related equipment, which ticked up 5 percent. Archery equipment sales came in third with a 4 percent increase. Firearms sales increased 9.5 percent in 2005. Rifles led the way with an increase of 16.5 percent. Attendance at the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas in February topped 37,000.

Agent Notebook

With summer just around the corner, I can feel the excitement in the air. School is just about out for summer break, and my fishing poles are ready for a workout.

I can remember just how excited I used to get as summer neared. Fishing was all I could think about. My friends and I spent hour after hour at our neighbor’s pond catching bluegill and bass.

Fishing is not just a sport for me; it is a life-changing event. It gives me the opportunity to relax and contemplate many of life’s challenges. It allows me to collect my thoughts and gain a better understanding of what life is really all about.

People with kids can’t go wrong by teaching them how to fish. I have heard it said before that kids with fishing and hunting permits in their back pockets don’t end up in the courthouse. Take your kids or your friends’ or relatives’ kids fishing today. You might just get them hooked for life.

Remember, any person 15 years of age or younger may take fish without permit, but are limited to the following methods: pole and line, gig, longbow, crossbow, snaring, grabbing and snagging. Also, don’t forget that Free Fishing Days fall on June 10–11. On these days, any person may fish without permit, trout permit or daily trout tag at most locations. Creel and size limits and method restrictions still must be observed.

Have a great day, take a kid fishing! —Ric Bishop, Shelby County