Private Landowners: The Key to Conservation Success

The success of conservation belongs in large part to the generations of hard-working Missourians who have improved their land to benefit the state’s fish, forest and wildlife. “Private landowners own 93 percent of the state’s land and are the key to conservation success,” says Bill White, MDC private land services division field chief. “Since the

Department was created in 1937, the partnership between MDC and landowners has always been seen as the primary way to make conservation work. That partnership is stronger than ever.”

MDC supports landowners’ efforts to improve habitat through cost-share programs, initiatives and outreach efforts. These projects ultimately benefit all Missourians through healthy soils, waters and forests, as well as abundant fish and wildlife.

“Our natural resource recovery and conservation has evolved through a unique partnership including the collective wisdom of landowners, outdoor enthusiasts and government agencies,” says MDC Deputy Director Tom Draper. “It is my belief that our relationship with landowners is even more critical today than it has been in the past. Strengthening the partnership between farmers, sportsmen and conservation agencies has

never been more important if we are not only going to sustain soil, water and natural resources, but ourselves, as well.”

ADVANCING PRIVATE LANDOWNER CONSERVATION

MDC helps landowners improve habitat on their land through both technical assistance and cost-share programs. Last year, MDC provided service to more than 73,500 rural and urban landowners, including more than 5,500 on-site visits. Oftentimes, that conservation work occurs near public conservation areas.

“MDC manages approximately 995,000 acres of public land. Private land surrounding those areas plays an important role in expanding our management efforts,” says Mike Schroer, MDC wildlife management chief. “MDC staff offers private land neighbors technical assistance, field days and workshops to help them better manage their lands.”

MDC foresters assist landowners with forest management through one-on-one contacts and educational opportunities, offering technical advice and assistance on how to manage woodlands for wildlife and wood products.

Through the Forest Stewardship Program, created in the 1990 Farm Bill, MDC staff help landowners prepare management plans that consider all the natural resources on the landowner’s property. Missouri presently has 312,000 acres of land under stewardship plans, with more than 19,000 acres added just last year.

“MDC foresters assist thousands of landowners that are working to improve thousands of acres,” says Lisa Allen, Missouri state forester. “Site visits and referrals to consultants through the Call Before You Cut program