The Voice for Missouri Outdoors JANUARY 2021 - VOL 82 | NO. 1
A Fresh Start in 2021
ur 2020 was no doubt a year for the record books. Change and disruption in our everyday lives is something that we have all had to deal with last year. But as an optimistic person, I can look back on some things, and see how some things have changed for the better. I know that 2021 is welcomed by us all, and hoping that we can get past the pandemic safely. The recent holiday season is a special time to spend with family and friends. Some of us may not have been able to spend that all-important family time with loved ones this year and that makes it challenging when we are so rooted in our traditions of meals, gatherings and social events. Getting outside has been a priority for many during this pandemic, and many more Missourians have spent time out of doors this year, which is wonderful. Having technology has allowed us to attend more meetings, share more information and engage like never before. We held virtual events recently and have had a great response. Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon was our keynote at the St. Louis virtual event, and MDC Commissioner Mark McHenry joined us for the virtual Kansas City event. Please go to our website and listen to our conversations with these respected Missouri leaders. In 2021 our annual convention will be virtual, and I encourage you to take advantage of joining that from the comfort of your own home. You will now have the opportunity to collaborate in more Resource Advisory Committee meetings and engage in the Resolution process. We will still have our great auctions and giveaways to raise much-needed funds to support the Federation. Mark your calendar for the first week of March and we hope to have you join us virtually. We also had some very historic legislation passed in 2020, both at the state and federal level. Locally here in Missouri, we passed HB 1711, our Snack Stick bill that will expand the Share the Harvest program. Nationally, the Great American Outdoors Act passed, which will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and restore our national parks.
Also passing is the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, which includes reauthorization for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and funding to combat invasive species. A new year also brings on a new legislative session in the Capitol in Missouri. CFM is working very diligently to represent our members in the Statehouse. Lots of newly elected officials will be in the Capitol, and our outreach has never been more critical than now. We can’t do this alone, and we need your support to help preserve all the great resources and outdoor passions we have. Be sure to check out Zach Morris's legislative article on page 24. I urge you to sign up for our Legislative Action Center at confedmo.org/lac so you can stay tuned in this legislative session. These things matter to our future, and we will not sit back and watch it erode in any way. When we let out the call for action in this session, please react. We have made it easier than ever to get your information to your elected officials through this software. Please continue to reach out to our talented staff and me if we can help in any way. Here’s to a fresh start, and continued conservation success in 2021.
Yours in Conservation, Tyler Schwartze CFM Executive Director JANUARY - 2021
Conservation Federation January 2021 - V82 No. 1
OFFICERS Mossie Schallon - President Richard Mendenhall - 1st Vice President Zach Morris - 2nd Vice President Ginny Wallace - Secretary Randy Washburn - Treasurer
STAFF Tyler Schwartze - Executive Director, Editor Micaela Haymaker - Director of Operations Michelle Gabelsberger - Membership Development Coordinator Colton Zirkle - Education and Communications Coordinator Joan VanderFeltz - Administrative Assistant Emma Kessinger - Creative Director
ABOUT THE MAGAZINE 30
Conservation Partners Get Awards from MDC and MCHF
Trout Fishing Opportunities During the Winter
Icons of the Eleven Point
Looking for Waterfowl in Unexpected Places
What Not to Do on a Cold Winter Day
Managing the Turkey Decline
Anniversary Rabbit Hunt
Champions for a Moment
Stabilizing Kiefer Creek at Castlewood State Park
Departments 3 8 11 13 14 36
Director's Message President's Message New Members Gear Guide Affiliate Spotlight Agency News
Highlights 16 19 23 24 32 45
Convention News CFM Events Schedule Conservation Day at the Capitol Missouri's Legislative Season Baseball and Shotguns Stockton Lake Walleye
CFM Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. Conservation Federation is the publication of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (ISSN 1082-8591). Conservation Federation (USPS 012868) is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September and November for subscribers and members. Of each member’s dues, $10 shall be for a year’s subscription to Conservation Federation. Periodical postage paid in Jefferson City, MO and additional mailing offices. Send address changes to: Postmaster Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main Jefferson City, MO 65101
FRONT COVER The male northern cardinal was taken in the Lohman area at ISO 800, 1/1250 shutter, at F/4 with a Canon 500 F/4 L lens on a Canon 1D MK IV camera by Dan Bernskoetter.
Thank you to all of our Business Partners. Platinum
Gold Bushnell Doolittle Trailer Enbridge, Inc.
G3 Boats MidwayUSA Pure Air Natives
Redneck Blinds Riley Chevrolet Roeslein Alternative Energy, LLC
Missouri Wildflowers Nursery Mitico Simmons Sun Solar
Starline, Inc. St. James Winery
Gray Manufacturing Company, Inc. HMI Fireplace Shop Hodgdon Powder Company, Inc. Missouri Wine & Grape Board NE Electric Power Cooperative, Inc.
NW Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. Ozark Bait and Tackle Powder Horn Gun & Archery
Community State Bank of Bowling Green Custom Screen Printing and Embroidery Dickerson Park Zoo Explore St. Louis Farmer’s Co-op Elevator Association Gascosage Electric Cooperative GREDELL Engineering Resources, Inc. Hulett Heating & Air Conditioning
Kansas City Parks and Recreation Lewis County Rural Electric Coop. Missouri Native Seed Association REMAX Boone Realty Tabor Plastics Company Truman’s Bar & Grill United Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Silver Custom Metal Products Forrest Keeling Nursery Learfield Communication, Inc. Lilley’s Landing Resort & Marina
Bronze Association of Missouri Electric Coop. Black Widow Custom Bows, Inc. Burgers’ Smokehouse Central Electric Power Cooperative Drury Hotels
Iron Bass Pro Shops (Independence) Bee Rock Outdoor Adventures Blue Springs Park and Recreation Boone Electric Co-op Brockmeier Financial Services Brown Printing Cap America Central Bank
Your business can benefit by supporting conservation. For all sponsorship opportunities, call (573) 634-2322.
JANUARY - 2021
"The Voice for Missouri Outdoors" Mission: To ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships. In 1935, conservationists from all over Missouri came together to form the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) with the purpose to take politics out of conservation. The efforts of our founders resulted in the creation of Missouri's non-partisan Conservation Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). Since then, CFM has been the leading advocate for the outdoors in Missouri.
Over 100 affiliated organizations Share the Harvest Corporate & Business Partnerships State & Federal Agency Partnerships National Wildlife Federation Affiliate Operation Game Thief Operation Forest Arson David A. Risberg Memorial Grants Missouri Stream Team
Conservation Leadership Corps Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance Confluence of Young Conservation Leaders Affiliate Summit Scholarships for youth and students Governor’s Youth Turkey Hunt National Archery in the Schools Grants Conservation Federation Magazine
Legislative Action Center Resolutions to lead change Natural Resource Advisory Committees Conservation Day at the Capitol Staff and members testify in hearings for conservation and natural resources
Conservation Federation of Missouri began
State Wildlife and Forestry Code published
Wildlife and Forestry Act passed
First deer season since 1937
Amendment 4 created Missouri's non-political Conservation Commission
First turkey season in 23 years
First hunter safety program formed
Missouri Department of Natural Resources formed
Urban fishing program formed in St. Louis; first in the nation
Operation game Thief formed
Design for Conservation Sales Tax passed
Stream Teams formed
Parks and Soils Sales Tax passed
Share the Harvest formed
Operation Forest Arson formed
Missouri voters Outdoor renewed Action Parks and Soils Sales Committee formed Tax by 70.8%
Conservation Leadership Corps formed
Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program formed
CFM Celebrates 85 years
Parks and Soils Sales Tax renewed by voters by the highest percentage to date (80%)
Ways You Can Support CFM Membership
Business Alliance Partnerships
Scholarships and Grant Support
Event Sponsorship and Product Donation
Support our efforts to promote and protect conservation and natural resources in our state. Members will receive our magazine six times a year, event information, our bi-weekly enewsletter, and the opportunity to grow our voice. CFM provides the platform for a diverse group of organizations to have their conservation voices be heard. Affiliates have the opportunity to apply for grants, receive educational training and promote the mission of their organization. CFM provides scholarships to graduates and undergraduates. We also provide grant funds to youth education programs and to affiliate projects. Contributing will help future generations initiate boots on the ground projects.
Become a life member for $1,000. Life memberships are placed in an endowment fund that allows us to continue our work in perpetuity.
Business partners will enjoy recognition in each magazine issue along with opportunities to reach and engage with our active membership. Ask us about our different Business Alliance levels. All of our events have raffles with both silent and live auctions. The contributions of in-kind products and services not only assists in raising funds for conservation, but also promote the businesses that support CFM.
Conservation Federation of Missouri 728 West Main St, Jefferson City, MO 65101 Phone: (573) 634-2322 ~ Email: email@example.com www.confedmo.org
Join online confedmo.org/join
Become a Member today! ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
Description Individual Supporter Individual Advocate Individual Sustaining Youth/Student Individual Lifetime
Price $35.00 $60.00 $100.00 $20.00 $1,000.00
Name: E-mail: Phone: Address: Credit Card #: Exp. Date: JANUARY - 2021
Moving Forward Together in the New Year
s I pen this message on a beautiful Indian Summer day, the holidays still lie ahead. Unfortunately, so does the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings to stay well and protect others, creating more anxiety during a time we look forward to spending with loved ones. I wish you the best in sharing the following quote as we turn the page on a very tough year. “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” - Rachel Carson. Happy New Year! You are reading our CFM magazine’s first issue of the new year, and I hope you will find it uplifting and full of promise. As are the holidays behind us so is the election. I am hopeful that our divided nation comes together and finds common ground to meet the many challenges ahead of us in 2021 and beyond. In our state, over 50 Representatives will be sworn in to serve their Districts for the first time in January. Congratulations to the new Freshmen! CFM invites all to work with us in the new session to tackle issues potentially impacting conservation and the environment. We extend our appreciation to those who chose to run for office and our congratulations to Governor Mike Parson, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, State Treasurer Scott Fitpatrick and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on winning their statewide elections. I take comfort in knowing that our citizens share common ground in supporting and defending Missouri conservation and its outdoor heritage. Through the diligent work by staff, members and volunteers, CFM finished the year with a balanced budget via closely monitoring expenses and successful execution of mail campaigns and (virtual) fundraising activities and events.
Thanks to all of you who contributed to these critical initiatives. While we look forward to the promise of an effective vaccine to be approved and distributed in the new year, we will proceed with an abundance of caution. Our 2021 annual meeting (convention) is scheduled for the first week of March and virtual. Planning is underway and promises to be a fun and engaging experience for all. Other events planned in the first half of the year will most likely be virtual, however, we are optimistic that we will return to “in person” events sometime in the second half of the year. In the meantime, stay well, be safe and know that we are all in this together!
Yours in Conservation, Mossie Schallon President, CFM
Shelter InsuranceÂŽ is a proud sponsor of Share the Harvest & the Conservation Federation. Contact your local Shelter agent to insure your auto, home, life, and your hunting & fishing gear. Find an agent near you at ShelterInsurance.com.
Why I Became a Life Member of CFM: David Urich
had a 30-year career with the Missouri Department of Conservation and for much of that time, I was a member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. I understood the organization's history and its role in passing the constitutional amendments that established the Conservation Commission and provided sales tax funding. I did not appreciate the Federationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s critical role in advocating for the Department of Conservation plus environmental and conservation issues until I had risen in the agency and taken on statewide responsibilities. Then I found myself at the state capitol interacting with legislators on various issues mostly related to public land management. These experiences were eye-opening and suddenly, I understood the importance of the Federation at the legislative level. I also learned that all the vital and essential conservation organizations in this state, all with a rich history, are more effective at legislative matters if they act together as a united team.
It is the Federation that plays the critical role of team leader on legislation impacting the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities. The Federationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leadership job will never be been done, and it was apparent that I could continue to help by becoming a life member.
Become a CFM Life Member When you purchase a Life Membership with CFM, your money is added to an endowment supporting the administration of the organization in perpetuity. Each year, we draw earnings from the endowment, so your contribution will truly be supporting the CFM for the rest of your life and beyond. This is an important funding source for our Federation. We hope you will consider joining the over 300 dedicated conservationists who have already made a life commitment to the Conservation Federation of Missouri by becoming a Life Member today at www.confedmo.org/join.
Contact CFM at (573) 634-2322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
WELCOME NEW CFM MEMBERS Stephen Armbruster, Saint Louis
Maureen Hoessle, Saint Louis
Debra Payne, Fairview Heights IL
Richard Barton, Saint Joseph
Ashley Hollis, Saint Louis
Charles Pittman, Webb City
James Baxter, Sugar Cree
Forrest Irvin, Lee's Summit
Fred Scherer, Bell City
Morgan Bearden, Roll
Burton Ives, Sedalia
Ramona Schumacher, Saint Louis
Mary Braxton, Columbia
Melissa Lowe, Springfield
Stephen Sellers, Wellington
Gary Brehe, Washington
George Luther, Creve Coeur
Stephen Shifley, Centralia
Kyle Carroll, Maysvill
Daniel Lyskowski, Kansas City
Winifred Soper, Slater
Charles Claycomb, Princeton
Paul Martin, Saint Louis
Kaleb Tallmage, Sunrise Beach
Craig Curry, Springfield
Daniel McIntyre, Chesterfield
Katie Wiesehan, Imperial
Aaron Eckelkamp, Washington
Marty Miller, Jefferson City
Shawn Fitzgibbons, Lee's Summit
Gary Patterson, Rolla
CFM thanks the 209 members that renewed since our last publication.
In Memory In Memory of Edward Laurence Thomas Janet Busch In Memory of Martin King Andrea Ratner Andrea Clavarella In Memory of Ron Coleman Mr. and Mrs. Bill Hilgeman
JANUARY - 2021
Committed to Community & Conservation Owned by the members they serve, Missouriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electric cooperatives do more than provide reliable and affordable electricity. They are active in their communities, concerned for the wellbeing of their neighbors and devoted to the rural way of life that makes the Show-Me State a special place to live, work and play. Missouriâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s electric cooperatives are dedicated to protecting the land, air and water resources important to you and your quality of life. Learn more at www.amec.coop.
Gear Guide CZ 557 American - BUSINESS ALLIANCE With a 24” version of our cold hammer forged and lapped barrel, the 557 American picks up where the short-barreled Sporter left off. The longer barrel squeezes a bit more velocity out of the chosen chamberings, to include 6.5 Creedmoor and 7mm-08. With a high comb and no sights, this rifle is intended for use with a scope, and built-in dovetails mean there are no bases required — allowing scopes to be mounted directly to the action and enabling a simpler, more robust attachment method. www.cz-usa.com
Athlon Optics, Talos 8x42 Whether you’re hunting, hiking, fishing, or adding a new species to your birding life list, the Talos lightweight binoculars are built tough. They feature a rubber-armor housing that’s O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for 100% waterproof/fog-proof dependability. They stretch available light with advanced fully multi-coated optics and premium BaK-4 prisms with phase coating, delivering outstanding color fidelity and sharpness. www.athlonoptics.com
Alps Outdoorz- Allure Pack The Allure pack was designed with women in mind and features a fully adjustable sternum strap and a unique two-piece adjustable waist belt for a tailored fit. The Allure pack was designed with input from over 2,000 women living all across the country. www.alpsoutdoorz.com
Redneck Predator 360 Blind - BUSINESS ALLIANCE Made in the USA from long-lasting fiberglass with durable gel-coat finish. The 2" roof overhang and window drip edge help keep rain off the windows, giving you a clear view of your hunting grounds. Large tinted, tempered automotive-glass windows with whisper-quiet window hinges provide a clear view. High quality automotive window gaskets and door molding help keep your scent in, the blind dry and the pests out. The fiberglass bottom prevents rotting and varmint damage. The blind can be mounted to Redneck’s heavy-duty powder coated steel stands or their unique trailer stand or blind sled. www.redneckblinds.com
Camp Chef Versatop Grill The Camp Chef Versatop Grill features is compatible with most Camp Chef 14-inch one burner accessories and features a flat top griddle, true Seasoned, non-stick & ready to cook, 15,000 BTUs/Hr. Burner, matchless ignition, fully adjustable heat control knob, grease management system, grease tray and grease cup, adjustable griddle leg levelers, compact design stores and transports easily, powered by a 1 lb. propane bottle, propane tank not included, accessories sold separately. www.campchef.com/versatop-grill.html
JANUARY - 2021
Wild Souls Wildlife
ild Souls is a non-profit, permitted wildlife rehabilitation center founded in 2017. We rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured, and orphaned native wildlife, returning rehabilitated healthy wildlife back into the wild. Wild Souls has three components: 24-hour hotline- Generally speaking, our hotline exists to inform the public to leave wildlife alone. Not all animals are candidates for rehabilitation. Our goal is to be proactive, preventing a person from rushing wildlife out of their natural habitat and into rehabilitation. Spring is "Wildlife Baby Season," where we average 200 calls a day! Transport Team- Our amazing Transport Team acts as wildlife first responders and travels to the location of the call. They serve many roles, whether to prevent illegal handling of wildlife, cutting the fishing line off an animal and setting it free or assisting in humane eviction by discouraging wildlife from inhabiting a property. We are not permitted to care for federallyprotected birds, so we transport them to a permitted facility. Rehabilitation clinic- Our clinic's main purpose, of course, is to rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife to be released healthy, back into the wild. Our rehabilitation clinic also delivers education on infectious disease, safety, handling, diet, and alternatives to hazardous chemicals like rodenticide. Wild Souls' clinic sits at a consistent, 88% release rate for wildlife. We do not maintain educational or non-release animals as our mission is to keep wildlife in the wild. In only one year, we have outgrown our facility and are already needing to expand! Wild Souls operates 100% on volunteers. Their passion is to preserve and educate the public about Missouri's abundant wildlife and conservation efforts.
Our platform of philanthropy has opened opportunities for many of our volunteers for college internships and has developed an interest in them for becoming conservation agents. Next year, we will begin hosting internships for local college students majoring in science or business. We are so proud of our latest outreach program, "Shop with a Conservation Agent." This program had ten kids from 5 surrounding school districts partnered with an MDC agent to go holiday shopping. The children will be provided with money for shopping, stockings, and a gift card for dinner. We hope this will open opportunities for future conservation leaders in Missouri. Chief Executive Director April Hoffman said of this event, "I love to give back to my community; we have appreciated all of the sincere support in our first few years. We hope to give each child a fun filled day while creating positive relationships with local conservation agents. Conservation agents are mostly unseen but work tirelessly for conservation efforts and public safety. Wild Souls appreciates working with them in these efforts. We want to have them step into the spotlight and connect their passion with the children in this community." "Healing Wildlife and The Human Spirit" Wildsoulswildliferescuerehab.org
Affiliate Organizations Anglers of Missouri Archery Big Bucks of Missouri
Missouri Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
Association of Missouri
Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society
Missouri State Campers Association Missouri State Chapter of the Quality Deer Management
Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Missouri Taxidermist Association
Bass Slammer Tackle
Missouri Community Forestry Council
Missouri Trappers Association
Big Game Hunters
Missouri Conservation Agents Association
Missouri Trout Fishermen's Association
Burroughs Audubon Society
Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation
Missouri Whitetails Unlimited
Missouri Conservation Pioneers
MU Wildlife & Fisheries Science Graduate
Capital City Fly Fishers
of Greater Kansas City
Missouri Consulting Foresters Association
Chesterfield Citizens Committee
Missouri Ducks Unlimited- State Council
Northside Conservation Federation
Missouri Forest Products Association
Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region
Columbia Audubon Society
Missouri Grouse Chapter of QUWF
Osage Paddle Sports
Conservation Foundation of
Missouri Hunter Education
Ozark Chinquapin Foundation
for the Environment
Missouri Charitable Trust
Ozark Fly Fishers, Inc.
Deer Creek Sportsman Club
Missouri Hunting Heritage Federation
Ozark Land Trust
Festus-Crystal City Conservation Club
Missouri Master Naturalist -
Ozark Trail Association
Forest and Woodland Association of Missouri Forest Releaf of Missouri Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Boone's Lick Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Great Rivers Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist -
Gateway Chapter Trout Unlimited
Hi Lonesome Chapter
Greater Ozarks Audubon Society
Missouri Master Naturalist -
Greenbelt Land Trust of Mid-Missouri Greenway Network, Inc. James River Basin Partnership L-A-D Foundation Land Learning Foundation
Miramiguoa Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Osage Trails Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist Springfield Plateau Chapter
Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club Perry County Sportsman Club Pomme De Terre Chapter Muskies Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Inc. Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever River Bluffs Audubon Society Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Roubidoux Fly Fishers Association South Side Division CFM Southwest Missouri Fly Fishers St. Louis Audubon Society
Legends of Conservation
Missouri National Wild Turkey Federation
Stream Teams United
Little Blue River Watershed Coalition
Missouri Native Seed Association
Student Air Rifle Program
Missouri Outdoor Communicators
The Fallen Outdoors-Team MO
Mid-Missouri Outdoor Dream
Missouri Park & Recreation Association
Tipton Farmers & Sportsman's Club
Mid-Missouri Trout Unlimited
Missouri Parks Association
Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers
Midwest Diving Council
Missouri Prairie Foundation
Troutbusters of Missouri
Mississippi Valley Duck
Missouri River Bird Observatory
United Bow Hunters of Missouri
Missouri River Relief
Wild Bird Rehabilitation
Missouri Association of Meat Processors
Missouri Rock Island Trail, Inc.
Wild Souls Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation
Missouri Atlatl Association
Missouri Rural Water Association
Wonders of Wildlife
Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation
Missouri Smallmouth Alliance
Young Outdoorsmen United
Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative
Missouri Society of American Foresters
Missouri Birding Society
Missouri Soil & Water Conservation
Missouri Bow Hunters Association Missouri Caves & Karst Conservancy
Society-Show-Me Chapter Missouri Sport Shooting Association
JANUARY - 2021
March 1-6, 2021 Virtual For more information and to register visit: www.confedmo.org/convention
Celebrate 85 Years of CFM!
Awards Ceremony Natural Resource Breakouts Virtual Auction General Assembly CLC Activites Speakers & Agency Updates
Don't miss CFM's largest event of the year!
Going to the woods? Gear up with • Hunting Clothing • Hunting Boots • Guns & Ammo • Blinds & Stands • UTVs • & More!
Legacy Flag Chassis 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle 107408411
CONNECT WITH US
Wicked Ridge Invader X4 Crossbow 107414185
Orscheln Outdoors™ 2-Person Ground Blind 107419147
Participating in Conservation with CLC
ur Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) students are as active as ever. As you know we were unable to meet in person for our Fall Workshop like we normally would but were pleasantly surprised by our virtual Zoom meeting. Last month, we met virtually again to do a progress check on resolutions. New and experienced students alike are doing a great job drafting their resolutions and are adapting well to the virtual platforms that are available to them. During this session, they presented their resolution drafts to their student working groups. Students helped each other with word-smithing to submit succinct drafts to the Resolution Action Committees (RAC’s) before the submission deadline. We hope you will join us at the Annual Convention in March to hear and discuss the students’ resolutions. The students have also had many opportunities to volunteer with CFM and our affiliate organizations. Students in the Springfield area attended a native plant sale with Missouri Prairie Foundation. Students in the Columbia area got out on the Missouri River for a Stream Team Clean-up with Missouri River Relief. “Through sun, wind, rain, and cold, 99 dedicated volunteers cleaned up along a 14 mile stretch of river over the course of 3 days, removing 5.5 tons of trash including 56 tires,” said Kevin Tosey, Operations Manager, “Each day brought new trash treasures, tires, and boatloads of bags to be sorted for recycling.” These volunteer events serve as great ways for the students to network with resource professionals and other passionate conservationists. If you know of an event or one of our affiliates is hosting a volunteer day where our CLC students would be an asset, please let me know! We would love to give them as many volunteer opportunities as possible and it would be great for them to be able to help you out as well and learn the mission of your organization.
As engaged conservationists, one of our goals is to leave abundant natural resources for those, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “in the womb of time.” CFM began directly investing in young people in 2002 with the creation of the Conservation Leadership Corps and added the Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA) in 2015. By investing in younger generations, we receive both youthful energy and fresh perspective in our work. CLC and MCCA provides mentorship and networking with professionals and affiliate organizations. CFM has several ways you can help out with supporting our youth education programs. We are now seeking endowment level donors to fund these programs in perpetuity. In addition, there are partial and single year support options available as well as sponsoring a single student for a year. If you are interested in supporting our youth education programs at any level, please contact Colton Zirkle at email@example.com. We have information packets available to be mailed to those interested at upper level support. Colton Zirkle Education and Communications Coordinator
2021 Events Schedule 85th Annual Convention- March 1 - 6 Let your voice be heard at the Virtual Annual Convention. Meetings, Awards, Auctions, and so much more.
Conservation Day at the Capitol- April 7 Join CFM and over 30 affiliate organizations at the Capitol for a day of supporting conservation and the outdoors.
Pull for Conservation: Northwest- April 17 Join CFM for the 6th annual Northwest clay shoot at Boot Hill Shooting Ground in Hamilton.
Conservation Federation Banquet: Springfield- June 17 Meet fellow conservationists and support CFM at the White River Conference Center next to Bass Pro Shops and Wonders of Wildlife.
Conservation Federation Virtual Event- July 22 Join us for this virtual fundraiser and hear updates about all things conservation.
Pull for Conservation: Central- August 14 Take your best shot at the 15th annual Central clay shoot at Prairie Grove Shotgun Sports.
Affiliate Summit- September & 10 CFM affiliate organizations are invited to network and learn with fellow professionals.
Conservation Federation Online Auction- October 4-18 Enjoy a fun and interactive online auction with many great trips and prizes.
Holiday Online Auction- Early December Bid on many exciting items just in the time for the holidays.
Event dates are subject to change. Please visit www.confedmo.org or follow us on social media for the most up to date schedule.
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JANUARY - 2021
CFM Holds Virtual Events for St. Louis and Kansas City
ur virtual event for St. Louis went off without a hitch on the evening of October 29th, 2020! Former Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon was our guest of honor and walked us through a few of his experiences while in our state’s highest office. Governor Nixon was a huge supporter of and defender of our natural resources, especially our state parks. While in office, he visited every state park and historic site in our public collection. He told us a few of his favorites were Wallace, Sam A. Baker, and Trail of Tears. He also visited nearly all of our conservation areas. Governor Nixon continues to be an advocate for our great outdoors. So many Missourians truly appreciate hi conservation legacy and the impact that the land he helped preserve will have on Missourians for generations to come. On December 3rd, CFM wrapped up its events series for the year with a virtual Kansas City event. Former Kansas City Parks and Recreation Director, and current Missouri Department of Conservation Director Mark McHenry was the keynote speaker for the event. He spoke about his time leading such a huge recreation program for some many years in the Kansas City area. Commissioner McHenry also spoke about his time so far on the Conservation Commission, and all the good work that the Department is doing for the citizens of Missouri. Commissioner McHenry continues to be a great asset in the Kansas City are and beyond. We’re grateful for his time in so many various aspects of conservation, parks, outdoor recreation that he has brought to so many. To view the full interviews with Governor Nixon and Commissioner McHenry, please visit our YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/confedmo.
(Top) Governor Nixon (Bottom) Commissioner McHenry. (Photos: Courtesy of CFM)
Conservation Day at the Capitol
April 7, 2021 7:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Third Floor Rotunda Join
LIVE: a.m. visit:
confedmo.org/capitol-conservation-day Subject to COVID-19 restrictions or cancellation
Missouri's Upcoming Legislative Season
egislative Session in Missouri starts January 6th, and CFM staff and volunteers are working hard to make sure conservation values are well represented in Jefferson City. The 2020 session presented some unique challenges, but we achieved an important milestone with the passage of HB1711, the “snack stick bill.” This legislation allowed CFM to expand the Share the Harvest program to include prepared products like jerky and meat sticks, and these will be distributed to school children around the state through local food banks. Since the close of session last May, CFM’s legislative committee has been busy preparing for the coming session. We hosted a webinar over the summer to inform our members about the issues we were watching during 2020. During that webinar, some members of the National Wildlife Federation’s legislative team provided updates about important upcoming federal legislation. This included the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law on August 4th. This important piece of legislation provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and allocates money for maintenance at national parks and other public lands. CFM is committed to keeping our members informed about conservation related legislation in Missouri. In September, we sent a survey about conservation issues to every candidate on the November ballot. The responses are available on our website at www.confedmo. org/candidates. In October, we hosted another webinar and talked about the policies behind each of these conservation issues and the challenges we anticipate during the upcoming session.
Jake Buxton, the Legislative Liaison for the Missouri Department of Conservation, presented during the webinar about the successes and challenges fighting feral hogs in Missouri, and the legislation we might expect to see in the coming session. Stay tuned to CFM emails and social media for more updates as legislative issues come up. The best way to stay informed is to sign up for the Legislative Action Center (LAC) on our website. From there, you can view your elected officials and their contact information, track conservation related bills, and easily send messages asking your representatives to take action. When an important issue comes up, we rely on our members to share their opinion through the LAC, so please make sure you are signed up. Every year, we see some of the same legislative challenges arise, and we need all the support we can get to make sure conservation is well represented. Keep an eye out for bills relating to the following topics, and make sure your representative knows where you stand on the issue. •
Feral hogs: the fight to eradicate feral hogs in Missouri continues. Many legislators in southeast Missouri have seen the success, so we expect support for legislation to increase penalties for releasing hogs. Conservation funding and authority: nearly every year we see an attack on conservation funding and the authority of the conservation commission in one form or another. If such an attack arises, we will call on our members to make sure their voices are heard. Prescribed fire liability insurance: CFM has partnered with many conservation groups to work on legislation that would define liability as it relates to the use of prescribed fire. This will make it easier for contractors to acquire prescribed fire liability insurance, which we believe will increase the use of this important habitat management tool. Public safety at nature centers: CFM has also supported a legislative initiative to add MDC nature centers to the list of facilities that ban registered sex offenders. We want to make sure that our nature centers are safe and kid-friendly.
Whether it is one of these issues, or some new challenge, we hope that we can depend on you to be the voice of Missouri outdoors. For more information, visit CFM’s website at www.confedmo.org.
Zach Morris CFM 2nd Vice President
Pull for Conservation: Northwest a Success
ctober 10th was a cool morning that turned into a beautiful day for the Pull for Conservation: Northwest! Thank you to all the shooters who came out and participated in our shoot at Boot Hill Shooting Ground near Hamilton. We had a wonderful day! A special “thank you” to the NW Electric Power Coop for providing lunch and being our title sponsor. First place in our Team Shoot was Seth Henry and Brad Mick with a score of 75. Seth Henry also took first place in the Individual Shoot with a score of 46. We also had fun side games of flurry and long shot. Congratulations to our winners! The full lists of scores are available on the website at: www.confedmo.org/pull-for-conservationnorthwest/. We would like to thank our sponsors for supporting our conservation mission and this clay shoot. This year’s station sponsors were as follows: Bass Pro Shops – Independence, Farmers’ Electric Cooperative, Lee Grover Construction, Northwest Electric Power Cooperative, Scobee Powerline Construction LLC, Sprague Excavating Co., and Upland Game Bird Habitat. Thank you to our volunteers from The Wildlife Society chapter at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph and from CFM’s Youth Conservation Action Committee, we appreciate your help running the side games and joining us for the day. We hope to see everyone again next year and be sure to share the event with your friends.
CFM Nominating Committee
he Conservation Federation of Missouri Nominating Committee recommends the following slate of individuals to serve as Executive Committee Nominees.
This proposed slate was considered formally at the December meeting of the CFM Board of Directors. The slate will now be proposed for formal approval at the annual meeting in March 2021.
Executive Committee (3 year term): Nathan McLeod Norman Stucky
JANUARY - 2021
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Conservation Partners Get Special Awards from MDC and MCHF
he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) recently presented three special awards to several organizations that have partnered with MDC to support Missouri conservation. The partnership awards were presented at the fourth annual -- and first virtual -Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable on Oct. 13. “The conservation partner awards are a collaboration between MDC and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation to recognize outstanding examples of the rich partnerships that make conservation thrive in Missouri,” said MDC Director Sara Pauley. “The heart of these awards is to honor partnerships and collaborations in conservation that make lasting differences and bring energy, impact, innovation, and connection to the work we do.”
Pauley added, “We could not deliver the conservation results we do without our incredible partners. They shape and grow our mission every day in Missouri and we are delighted to honor these shining examples.” The Conservation Impact Award was presented to Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever and the Missouri Prairie Foundation for demonstrating their commitment and ongoing positive impact to the health of Missouri’s land, water, and forests and the sustainability of all fish and wildlife. These organizations continuously exemplify diligence in addressing key conservation challenges and opportunities. While respecting and valuing tradition, these organizations consistently challenge their staff and partners to pursue innovative opportunities to add lift to the Missouri conservation community for the benefit of the state’s invaluable natural resources and all citizens -- present and future.
Feature Story The Conservation Intersection Award was presented to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for its commitment to providing a critical conservation intersection where Missourians have places to go to enjoy nature and understand the value of nature in their lives. Since the inception of MDC’s Discover Nature Schools curriculum, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has provided ongoing critical support of MDC curricular units and educational field staff in a myriad of critical ways. This partnership of training, assistance, and mutual collaboration has inspired the MDC conservation education team’s energy and focus to continue the creation of quality conservation education curriculum. The Conservation Innovation Award was presented to Sovereign Sportsman Solutions (S3) for its commitment to innovation, including improving the “business of conservation” through support of customer service, continuous improvement, and/or employee development initiatives. Sovereign Sportsman Solutions has been a valued and collaborative partner with MDC since 2015 when it began providing sale and distribution of sport and commercial wildlife permits for the department. Its professional team and industry leading servicedelivery methods have ensured the continued development of MDC’s innovative permit products and services to meet both customer-focused initiatives and agency-related regulatory requirements.
The virtual awards ceremony was part of a virtual conference hosted by MDC Oct. 13 and 14 with more than 475 partner participants who have an interest in conserving Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources. Themed “A New Era of Conservation: Exploring our Past, Present, and Future,” the virtual conference included nationally recognized speakers, a variety of workshops, and networking opportunities. To watch a video of the virtual awards ceremony, go online to: youtu.be/VDJW7MPVzpE.
The Conservation Impact Award was presented to Quail Forever & Pheasants Forever. Pictured are representatives of the organization. (Photo: Courtesy of Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever) The Conservation Impact Award was presented to the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Pictured is the award surrounded by staff and volunteers. (Photo: Courtesy of MPF) The Conservation Innovation Award was presented to Sovereign Sportsman Solutions. Pictured is the Missouri team with the award. (Photo: Courtesy of MCHF)
JANUARY - 2021
Baseball and Shotgun Shooting
ecently I had the enjoyment of teaching a former baseball player that I coached and his daughter how to shoot skeet. About halfway into my shooting instruction, the man said, "Coach, I feel like I'm back on the field, and you are teaching me the right way to play baseball." When I was a baseball coach, I always started my teams with the same statement. "Boys, there are two ways to play this game, the wrong way and the right way. So which way do you think we are going to play? His observation got me thinking about how I taught baseball and now shooting the right way for a total of forty years. Both sports involve a moving target. In baseball, we try to hit it, catch it, and throw it. The ball may be coming toward us or going away from us, either in the air or on the ground. One might ask, "How is this similar to shooting?" In skeet shooting, some targets come toward the shooter. In trap shooting targets go away from the shooter. In sporting clays some targets are on the ground. When hunting live birds, they can, and do fly in many directions. My baseball player commented on how similar my teaching methods were, whether I was coaching baseball or shooting. In both sports, I stressed fundamentals, and we worked on these every day. My infielders and outfielders worked on how to track a ball, so they did not overrun it or come up short. I start all my new shooters on learning how to track a target, so they get on the bird and do not just shoot. One of the fundamentals of shooting is gun mounting and foot placement. In baseball, the bat positioning and foot position are also of equal importance. A consistent head position is important in both sports, so either the batter or the shooter, does not change how he sees the ball or the target.
This brings me to the two most important similarities between baseball and shotgun shooting: practice and muscle memory. When a person does any activity consistently for a period of time, the muscles get trained to work with the eyes and brain. Good ballplayers work on all their skills every day. The importance here is the more often the muscles repeat that activity the less the player will have to think when he or she is in the game and must react very quickly. A good shooter is no different. The top shooters will shoot several hundred targets a week. This is why they win! One activity that is not similar is if you miss a target, you don't have to run the bases. Len Patton Practicing your fundamentals in shotgun shooting will greatly improve your overall shooting performance. (Photo: Courtesy of Len Patton)
MDC Awards Grant Funding for Community Forest Improvements
he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently awarded $366,446 to Missouri communities through its Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (TRIM) grant program. TRIM grants offer cost-share funding for government agencies, schools and nonprofit groups to manage, improve or conserve trees on public lands.
“TRIM grants help communities with tree managementrelated activities that help keep neighborhood trees healthy and thriving,” said MDC Community Forestry Coordinator Russell Hinnah. “Grant funds are matched by each grant recipient to help with tree inventories, pruning, planting, removals, and educational programs.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has really shown us how valuable our outdoor spaces are for our physical and mental wellbeing, and trees are a huge part of that,” said Hinnah. “Whether you are relaxing with your family at a park or getting some exercise on a local trail, you are benefiting from well-managed trees this program supports.”
• • •
Many of this year’s grant recipients will use funding to conduct tree inventories, which are a critical first step in managing community forests. Counting the number of trees, tracking what species, and what condition the trees are in can help communities better plan for taking care of them. MDC has awarded 41 grants this year. TRIM grant recipients for 2020 include: • City of Hermann—Education, Planting, $10,000 • City of Gladstone—Removal, $10,000 • County of Clay—Removal, Education, Planting, $10,000 • City of Crestwood—Inventory, $10,000 • City of Rolla—Inventory, Removal, $10,000 • City of Joplin—Pruning, $10,000 • Little Creek Nature Center—Inventory, Education, $5,750 • City of Brentwood—Planting, $10,000 • St. Louis/East Central MCFC—Education, $10,000 • City of Kansas City—Inventory, $10,000 • City of Ash Grove—Removal, Planting, $9,254 • City of Perryville—Removal, Education, Planting, $10,000 • City of Wildwood—Planting, $9,885 • University of Missouri-Landscaping Services— Removal, Education, Planting, $10,000
• • •
• • •
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
City of Warrensburg-- Removal, Education, Planting, $6,834 Springfield Tree City USA Advisory Committee— Nursery Establishment, $10,000 Heartland Conservation Association—Inventory, Education, $10,000 City of Glendale—Inventory, Removal, Planting, $8,041 Truman State University—Removal, Pruning, Planting, $10,000 City of Parkville—Removal, Pruning, $7,320 City of Sedalia—Inventory, Pruning, Education, Planting, $10,000 Viva Cuba, Inc.—Removal, Education, Planting, $10,000 City of Kirksville—Planting, $10,000 City of University City—Inventory, $9,437 City of Cape Girardeau Parks & Recreation— Inventory, $4,875 City of Shrewsbury—Pruning, Education, Planting, $4,930 Northwest Missouri State University—Removal, Pruning, Planting, $9,811 City of Bridgeton—Inventory, $5,454 City of Manchester—Inventory, Education, Planting, $9,783 City of Farber—Inventory, Removal, Pruning, $4,341 Forest ReLeaf of Missouri—Education, $10,000 Poplar Bluff Park Department—Planting, $7,044 Bridging the Gap, Inc.—Education, Planting, $10,000 City of Bel-Nor—Removal, Pruning, Planting, $10,000 City of Liberty Parks & Rec Dept—Pruning, Education, $5,250 City of St. Charles Parks & Rec Dept—Removal, Pruning, $10,000 City of Ladue—Removal, Pruning, $10,000 Pasadena Park—Inventory, Removal, Pruning, Planting, $10,000 Pasadena Hills—Removal, Pruning, Planting, $10,000 Downtown Marceline—Removal, Education, Planting, $8,438 University of Missouri-St. Louis—Removal, Pruning, $10,000
For more information, visit MDC’s website at www.mdc. mo.gov/trim.
JANUARY - 2021
Trout Fishing Opportunities During the Winter
itter temperatures and snow on the ground can be a deterrent to hit the water for some. However, the drain of being confined indoors can also be a great motivator to rig up a rod. For those willing to brave the elements, there are some very rewarding fishing opportunities for Missourians. So how about we pull the thermals and flannels out of the closet and look at how you can beat those winter blues and shake off the gray of winter. Let's replace those sad colors with the color of the rainbow…trout. Thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there are many trout fishing opportunities for anglers.
Ozark Streams are Always Open: The trout in Ozark streams that reside there in the summer are the same fish swimming around in winter. Most Ozark streams maintain a reasonably consistent water temperature and fish are going to stay put. The resident fish will change their feeding habits, but they aren't loading up their motorhomes and heading to Arizona. There will be occasional hatches on warmer days that can lead to good fly fishing but overall, the insects will be small and few.
Feature Story Fish are going to key on baitfish so if you are chucking flies, patterns like wooly buggers and muddler minnows are excellent choices. If you are using a conventional rod and reel, an inline spinner will keep you busy and active. No matter how you are fishing, staying active with your casting and retrieval will help keep your blood pumping and warm you up on cold days. Most importantly, safety is paramount to everything else. Flow rates are usually lower during winter months, so if you're planning on floating and fishing, plan for floats to take more time than usual. You will also be dragging your vessel through shallow patches that were not there last summer. If you are throwing on some waders, use caution (and maybe a wading staff) when you are in the water. A slip and fall can lead to not only being wet but also hypothermia. Bringing a change of clothes wouldn't be a bad idea and could save a fishing trip. Please be aware of the regulations on your stretch of water because different regulations can exist on different stretches of water even though it is the same stream. Catch and Release Season at Trout Parks: Trout parks in Missouri are fun! There are large numbers of trout as well as chances to land a lunker. Missouri trout parks also draw large crowds, but fewer people tend to visit them during the winter. This could be partially because trout parks have a catch and release policy from midNovember to early February. The days and times that parks are open vary, so it would be worth your time to go MDC's website and check those details. You will need a fishing license and a trout permit, but a daily tag is not required. Even if you catch a six-pound rainbow trout, it has to be put back, and yes, you will get caught if you try to stuff it down your waders and make a mad dash for your vehicle. Plus, you will look silly. You can catch some silly numbers of fish as well. Some of my best days of trout fishing for both numbers and fish size have come from fishing a trout park in the winter. My go-to method for winter trout park is nymphing with a fly rod. That is partially because you can only use flies at trout parks in the winter, and also since there are few dry fly opportunities and baitfish populations can vary from park to park. If you don't throw a fly rod, don't forget that marabou jigs are considered flies. Fishing jigs under a float or with a slow, methodical retrieve can help you put up gaudy numbers of fish. You will also find that the good fishing spots are less crowded in terms of people but still hold large numbers of fish.
Winter Trout Stocking: There are thirty-six lakes across Missouri that are stocked with rainbow trout and can be located on the MDC website. The chances are that if you can't drive to a trout park or Ozark stream, then you are a short driving distance from a stocked lake. It is also important to note that different from trout parks and Ozark streams, these trout have been relocated from flowing water to a lake. Different fishing methods also accompany this change. Bait fishers, this is your time to shine. The use of scented baits is a great way to catch these stocked trout. If you have a conventional setup, inline spinners will produce strikes as well. However, there is not a better setup than a small jig under a float in my own experience. You can accomplish this with a fly rod, spinning rod, or Zebco 303 for that matter. Most of these lakes aren't crystal clear like trout parks and streams either. This means that you can increase the diameter of your line. While I use two-pound line on clear water, I bump up to a six-pound line on stocked lakes. This allows for better hook-sets, shorter fights, and more fish landed. As with streams, you will want to check each lake's regulations when it comes to limits and fishing methods. Now that you have just enough information to make trout shake in their scales, please allow me to impart one more piece of advice. I will keep it simple; get out there. Nobody ever sat around a campfire and told the story about how they decided not to go fishing one day. Yes, winter and the conditions don't usually include 75 degrees with a slight breeze out of the south. If you're even considering braving the elements and chasing some trout, then go for it. Chances are you will enjoy the solitude, and you'll probably end up with a heck of a story to tell. Blog- showmeflyguy.blogspot.com YouTube- youtube.com/theshowmeflyguy Etsy Fly Shop- etsy.com/shop/TheShowMeFlyGuy Instagram- @showmeflyguy Facebook- facebook.com/showmeflyguy Tyler Dykes Tyler landed this rainbow trout at Bennett Spring State Park during catch and release season. (Photo: Courtesy of Tyler Dykes)
JANUARY - 2021
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION MDC Maintains Sustainable Forestry Certification
he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces it has maintained its certification by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Management Standard for 658,348 acres of state land. The certification follows an annual audit of MDC forestry practices for those lands. MDC has maintained its certified status since 2017 with annual audits confirming its forestmanagement practices continue to meet the SFI® standard. SFI is one of the world’s most recognized, independent thirdparty for forest-management certification standards and certification provides assurances of responsible practices across the forest products supply chain. “Certification to SFI considers all aspects of our forest management process, from our actions taken in the woods to the paperwork we keep in our files,” said MDC State Forester Justine Gartner. “We are extremely proud to maintain this certification, which means we have outside validation that we are properly managing our forest resources to assure their health and sustainability.” SFI’s Forest Management Standard is based upon principles, goals and performance measures that were developed nationally by professional foresters, conservationists and others with the intention of promoting sustainable forest management in North America. SFI and its many partners work together to balance environmental, economic, and social objectives such as conservation of wildlife habitat and biodiversity, harvesting forest products, protecting water quality, providing forest industry jobs, and developing recreational opportunities.
MDC continues to maintain its certification by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Forest Management Standard for 658,348 acres of state land it manages as sustainable forest areas. Shown is forest surrounding Gladden Creek in Dent and Shannon counties. (Photo: Courtesy of MDC)
The SFI Forest Management Standard is also the only standard that requires participants to support forestry research. Learn more at https://www. forests.org/. “The Missouri Department of Conservation joins other progressive organizations that are demonstrating their leadership and transparency by certifying their lands to the SFI Forest Management Standard,” said SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow. “It is especially important to differentiate the responsible actors who are managing forests to maintain conservation values, sustain communities, and support responsible supply chains given that forest products are traded internationally. In other nations there are high risks of illegal logging and forest products are coming under increasing scrutiny.”
MDC Congratulates Jeff Churan on Master Conservationist Award
he Missouri Conservation Commission and Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently bestowed their Master Conservationist award to Jeff Churan of Chillicothe at the Sept. 4 Commission meeting at Commission Headquarters in Jefferson City. Churan is the 62nd recipient of the award, which was first presented in 1942. The Master Conservationist Award honors living or deceased citizen conservationists, former MDC commissioners, and employees of conservation-related agencies, universities, or organizations who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the state’s fisheries, forestry, or wildlife resources, including conservation law enforcement and conservation education-related activities. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/ about-us/awards-and-honors/master-conservationist. Churan’s nomination and award stem from his life-long interest in hunting that led to a deep involvement in conservation over the last half century. “If ever there was a person who embodied the heart and spirit of this award, it is Jeff Churan,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “His personal passion for conservation, both as a hunter and as a landowner, is well known, but he’s also served consistently and tirelessly behind the scenes for decades to move conservation forward in Missouri.” Churan’s passion for natural resources led him to serve in key local and national volunteer positions with The Nature Conservancy, Quail Unlimited, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, the University of Missouri School of Natural Resources Advisory Council, and Ducks Unlimited. In 1983, Churan was appointed by Missouri Governor Christopher Bond to serve a six-year term as a Missouri Conservation Commissioner.
The Missouri Conservation Commission and MDC recently bestowed their Master Conservationist award to Jeff Churan of Chillicothe at the Sept. 4 Commission meeting at Commission Headquarters in Jefferson City. (Photo: Courtesy of MDC - File Photo 2007)
In addition to his active membership and leadership roles in conservation-related organizations, Churan has contributed to the conservation of Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources by managing his 1,650 acres in Livingston County. His farms on the acreage are managed to provide quality habitat for quail, waterfowl, deer, turkey, and other native wildlife species. These properties have been used by MDC for research projects, have been included in the Wildlife Habitat Appraisal Guide through the Natural Resource Conservation Service for workshops, and have been opened to the public for field days and youth events. In retirement, Churan became interested in writing, particularly about waterfowl history, and privately printed seven books on duck clubs and his own experiences afield. He has also co-authored three other books on the history of duck hunting and wetland conservation.
JANUARY - 2021
MISSOURI STATE PARKS Brian Stith Named Missouri State Parks Deputy Director
ringing more than 25 years of knowledge and experience with the agency, the Department of Natural Resources welcomes Brian Stith as the deputy division director for Missouri State Parks. Stith will focus his attention to the divisionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural and cultural resources programs, the grants, recreation and interpretation program, planning and development, and the State Historic Preservation Office. Most recently, Stith served as the deputy director for the Missouri State Parks Eastern Region. Stith joined the Department of Natural Resources on July 10, 1995, following a long family history with Missouri State Parks, as the fourth generation to work for the agency. Stith began his career at the Missouri State Museum, followed by roles including section chief of interpretation development, assistant district supervisor in the eastern parks district, district supervisor in the southern Missouri historic district, and deputy regional director for the eastern region. Stith is a member of the State Park Employee Association, Meramec River Recreation Association, Missouri Parks Association, Friends of Arrow Rock and American Association for State and Local History. Stith was recognized as the 2006 Missouri Parks Association Field Employee of the Year, is a 2006 N.R.P.A. National Executive Development School Graduate and a 2012 graduate of the Department of Natural Resources Leadership Ladder program. He also participated in the 2018-2019 Department of Natural Resources Informal Influencer program and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Minor in Geography from the University of Missouri.
Stith lives in Wildwood with his family who share his love for Missouri state parks and historic sites. They spend as much time as possible visiting parks, walking trails, riding bikes, playing sports and enjoying nature. Stith has always enjoyed hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing and playing numerous outdoor sports. His love for the outdoors came at a young age growing up on his family farm, just outside of Arrow Rock, Missouri.
Missouri State Parks Naturalist, Michelle Soenksen, Receives National 2020 Master Front-line Interpreter Award
ichelle Soenksen, senior naturalist and resource interpreter at Sam A. Baker State Park in Patterson, Missouri, is the recipient of the 2020 Master Front-line Interpreter Award from the National Association for Interpretation (NAI). The award was presented during the 2020 NAI virtual national conference on November 10-13. The annual conferences provided participants with professional skills and ideas and networking opportunities with others in the fields of environmental, cultural, historical and recreational resources interpretation. The Master Front-line Interpreter Award is presented to an NAI member who has worked for five or more years in the profession and whose current duties are at least 60 percent front-line interpretation. Must demonstrate a mastery of interpretive techniques, program development, and design of creative projects. Michelle is one of two recipients for this year’s award. “Michelle is a true leader on our team,” says Missouri State Parks director Mike Sutherland. “Her passion and knowledge about Missouri’s resources are both great examples for all of us to follow.“ Michelle Soenksen’s lengthy resume includes interpretive work, at four Missouri state parks and as a college instructor, all of which gave her a wide array of experiences. What is really important is that she has touched people with her interpretation. Her passion for the resource and her genuine caring for her audience shines through. She is not just going through the motions. Interpretation is so much more than just a job for her. It is truly “who she is”, not just “what she does”. Michelle is a quiet force in interpretation. Without fanfare she builds strong programs on that foundation. She is very organized and versatile. She had to have flexibility in style and subject matter to make those valuable connections with her audiences. She thrived as an interpreter and mentor. Knowing what it was like as a seasonal interpreter herself, she made hiring her own seasonal park staff and training other Missouri Department of Natural Resources staff a memorable experience. Like many, she made the most with what she had. This often included a smaller than adequate budget.
Michelle is strong in spirit. Despite personal and professional adversity, Michelle has never lost her spirit or her passion. Michelle’s legacy endures as an interpreter and mentor. The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) professional association for those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources in settings such as parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquaria, botanical gardens, and historical sites. For more than 50 years, NAI and its parent organizations have encouraged networking, training, and collaboration among members and partners in support of our mission: inspiring leadership and excellence to advance heritage interpretation as a profession. NAI’s growing network of members includes volunteers, docents, interpreters, naturalists, historians, rangers, park guards, guides, tour operators, program directors, consultants, academicians, planners, suppliers, and institutions. Sam A. Baker State Park is located Route 1 Box 18150, Patterson, in southeast Missouri. For more information, please contact Sam A. Baker State Park at 573-856-4411.
JANUARY - 2021
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JANUARY - 2021
Icons of the Eleven Point
inter is the ideal time for hiking and exploring. With the foliage off the trees, it's easier to see land features and wildlife. Plus, the snakes and ticks aren't active. It's also an excellent time for floating for the same reasons, but cold-weather floating requires proper skills, gear and preparation for maximum safety.
Maybe you aren't comfortable with winter floating, but you long to explore the Eleven Point, our state's National Scenic River. It's easy to reach the iconic sites along the Eleven Point via car and foot, as long as you don't mind some bumpy gravel roads. Drive to each area, then hike in for up-close and personal exploration. You can visit several of these in a day or spread them out over a weekend or longer.
Feature Story Greer Spring Greer Spring is a good starting point for an Eleven Point exploration. This spring adds more than 220 million gallons of water to the river daily, almost doubling the flow, and lowering the water temperature to make the section between the spring branch and Turner Mill a prime area for trout fishing. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1980, Greer Spring is the second largest spring in Missouri, and is one of the most beautiful springs in the Ozarks. It is definitely worth the 2-mile roundtrip hike through the gorge to the spring. The hiking trail is part of the Great Missouri Birding Trail, so don't forget your binoculars and bird field guide. Greer Mill stands near the top of the east side of the gorge. It was recently restored with a new roof and siding by the Eleven Point River's Friends, a nonprofit. The mill is only open for special events, but the grounds are open during daylight hours. The current mill was built around 1899. The first grist mill, circa 1859, was down in the gorge on the spring branch. Getting there: The Greer Spring trailhead is one mile south of the Eleven Point bridge on Highway 19, on the west side of the road. Greer Mill is between the trailhead and the bridge, also on the west side of the road. Greer Crossing campground, picnic area and river access is just north of the bridge, on the east side of the road. There are vault toilets at the trailhead and at the campground. Turner Mill One of the most photographed sights along the Eleven Point is the huge metal wheel that was once part of Turner Mill and still stands along the spring branch. It is quite a surprise to hike through the woods and come upon this massive wheel. It was transported down the river in pieces and assembled on-site in the 1850s. The rest of the mill is long gone, except for some stone chutes and retaining walls near the cave's mouth, from which the spring flows. Signage near the wheel describes the tiny town of Surprise, which grew around the mill and had a general store, post office, school and several houses, with a population of almost 50. The one-room Surprise School, the only remaining building, can be reached on foot by a path near the northeast edge of the parking area.
Getting there: Heading north on Highway 19 from Greer, you'll see a sign for Turner Mill. Turn east on Forest Road 3152, then south on Forest Road 3190 to the north bank of the Eleven Point River. (You also can reach Turner Mill from Highway J, going west on Forest Road 3152, then south on 3190.) This is a day-use area with picnic tables and a vault toilet. When you leave Turner and return to FR 3152, you can continue on the maze of forest service gravel roads to the hamlet of Wilderness, on the edge of the Irish Wilderness, and eventually come out on Highway J or K. Be willing to backtrack if you make a wrong turn on the sparsely marked roads, and perhaps drive across the occasional low-water slab creek crossing. In Wilderness, stop to admire the Works Progress Administration-era stonework on the village's main building, originally the 1935 schoolhouse and now the Wilderness Freewill Baptist Church. If you're an experienced hiker and backpacker, make plans to return another time to explore the legendary Irish Wilderness. Boze Mill A beautiful rock-rimmed deep-blue spring pond is the highlight of a hike along the criss-cross maze of footpaths at Boze Mill. The spring pours forth between 12 and 14 million gallons of water a day, flowing into the Eleven Point. Aquatic plants add many shades of vivid green to the spring branch. Meandering along the paths, you'll come to what remains of Boze Mill. The original mill was constructed in 1859 by Alexander Boze, who was killed during the Civil War. Lucas Boze rebuilt the grist mill in the 1880s, and the hand-layered rock wall and parts of the turbine you see today date from that time. The float camp offers primitive campsites with fire rings and picnic tables, and a latrine. Getting there: From Riverton, go east on Highway 160. Shortly after crossing the Riverton bridge, turn north on County Road 152 and travel 2.3 miles. The parking lot will be on the left. Follow the footpaths to the spring and mill ruins.
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Feature Story The Narrows Near the southern end of the Scenic River Area of the Eleven Point, you'll find The Narrows, which gets its name from the razorback ridge that runs between Frederick Creek and the river. As you hike down from the parking area, stop at the Blue Spring overlook for a stunning view of the spring branch. Note the narrow space between rock formations along the trail; the ridge is only 30 feet wide at this point. Look closely along the creek side of the trail as you walk and you'll see remnants of the wire cable that early settlers tied their wagons onto to keep the wagons from plunging down the bluff. At the base of the ridge trail, the dam and sluice from the old Thompson Mill (also spelled Thomasson) still stand. Follow the spring branch of Morgan Spring (originally called Thompson Mill Spring) to the river, keeping an eye out for remnants of the concrete canals used for the aquatic plant business of B.B. Morgan in the mid 1900s. From the Morgan Spring Float Camp at the river, footpaths lead to Blue, Sullivan and Jones springs, scattered along the base of the steep bluff of The Narrows. Winter is the ideal time to hike to these springs because the dense foliage is gone; in summer, the area is nearly impassable. It's a great area for birding. The float camp offers primitive campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, and a latrine. Getting there: The road to The Narrows parking lot is immediately to the west of the Highway 142 bridge; there is a large wooden sign. (The river access is to the east of the bridge.) Vehicles are not allowed beyond the gate at the far end of the parking area. Falling Spring This is a bonus trip tip, which is not directly on the Eleven Point, but is nearby and worth a detour while in the area. Falling Spring, cascading out of a rock bluff, is popular with photographers any season of the year.
The spring has provided power for two mills, the second built in the 1920s and still stands. The log cabin was the first home built on the site and is more than 100 years old; it was later used as a smokehouse. A 650-foot trail leads along the edge of the lower pond. This is a day-use area, with picnic tables, grills, and a vault toilet. Fishing is allowed. Getting there: The turn-off for Falling Spring is 10 miles south of Winona or 15 miles north of Alton, on Highway 19. Turn east on Forest Road 3170, then veer left on Forest Road 3164 and go two miles to the spring. Just before the spring, you'll pass the Falling Spring Cemetery. It is interesting to wander among the older headstones and try to imagine the lives these early settlers led, but be sure to respect the cemetery and graves. These treasures are on or near the Eleven Point River within the Mark Twain National Forest, which is part of the United States Forest Service. For more information, contact the Eleven Point Ranger District, headquartered in Doniphan, 573-996-2153, or visit www.fs.usda.gov/ recarea/mtnf/recarea/?recid=21664. Barbara Gibbs Ostmann (Top) An open house to celebrate the restoration of Greer Mill. (Photo: Barb Ostmann) (Front) An idyllic scene at Boze Mill. (Photo: Barb Ostmann)
Stockton Lake Walleye
alleye are native to Missouri’s rivers and streams, but the creation of major impoundments on some of those rivers created barriers to natural spawning and a decrease in Walleye populations. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has attempted to develop and manage Walleye populations since the 1950s. There have been successes and failures. The first coordinated statewide Walleye management approach was started in 1997 with the formation of a Walleye Task Force within the Fisheries Division of MDC. Their major goals were: 1) intensify and expand Walleye management, 2) identify priority lakes and rivers, 3) increase hatchery production and 4) provide better fishing and harvest opportunities. Citizen surveys were conducted, and most anglers preferred to catch and keep four 15” Walleye instead of two 18” Walleye or one 24” Walleye. In 2009, the first Missouri Walleye Management Plan was approved detailing management goals and objectives for the next five years. By 2016, the MDC Fisheries Division Management Team designated a new Walleye committee of hatchery, management and research staff. This new plan is in effect for ten years, 2017-2026. Studies determined the most cost-effective and productive methods to improve populations in our impoundments were to release fingerlings. Under the plan, MDC will raise and release about 1.5 million 1” to 2” fingerlings annually. Priority Lakes were identified. Priority one is Stockton Lake, often considered the premier Walleye fishing destination of the state. Beginning in 2017, Stockton receives 300,000 fingerling Walleye’s annually, scheduled through 2026. With a fast growth rate, fingerlings quickly reach the 15” legal length limit by age 2 and 18” by age 3. The reputation of Stockton’s Walleye fishing has grown about as fast as that of its premier lake guide service, Tandem Fly Outfitters.
Kris Nelson, his wife Amanda and a staff of dedicated guides have established themselves as the go-to outfitters for Stockton Lake. Their hard work and dedication to customer service shine as they attempt to expand on what I will call an Alaskan Model of an allinclusive fishing package; rooms at their lodge, meals, equipment and guides-all without the added time and expense of long and exhausting travel. Kris would love for you to reach out to them at TandemFlyOutfitters.com or email at TandemFlyOutfitters@gmail.com. Scott Pauley (Photo Courtesy of Kris Nelson)
JANUARY - 2021
Looking for Waterfowl in Unexpected Places
heasant hunting is exciting when you know the area is loaded with birds. Our favorite pheasant hunting field in 1993 had always given up at least three roosters each year, and often more. The long drive ended as we stared in shock at the unthinkable change in our field. The field had been planted in milo but that year floodwaters from the nearby Missouri River had poured in. The water level was just under each ripened milo head. We stared through binoculars in disbelief at the cloud of birds over the north end of this farming disaster. “Ducks,” Fred Simmerman said. “Man, there are thousands of ducks here.” The following morning after a sleepless night, Simmerman, Bobby Donaldson, and I loaded our duck hunting gear and headed back north. We soon reached the property and started wading while pulling a small johnboat loaded with decoys, guns, ammunition, lunch, a military camouflage net, buckets to sit on and whatever else we needed. Wading in an unpicked milo field is difficult and occasionally dangerous. Hanging onto the boat while carefully stepping through the middle of each row made our trek possible. I stepped into a deep rut, slipped and almost went under. My grip on the boat barely held me up—visions of stepping in an old homestead water-wellmade each step a challenge. Our group finally reached the field’s opposite end about a mile off the road. We quickly set out decoys and waited for daylight. Our buckets sank a bit into the mud making the seats more stable. Simmerman spread camouflage netting around weeds over our position and we blended in. Soon the ducks poured in. Calling was a waste of breath; the birds wanted to be there. We quickly shot our limits of both ducks and geese, cased our shotguns and ate an early lunch while watching mallards, gadwalls, teal, widgeon, pintails, scaup, ring necks and redheads diving into the area. Portable waterfowl hunting with decoys is an ancient art dating back at least 2,000 years as evidenced by a find in 1924 of eleven remarkably detailed Paiute canvasback drake decoys molded from rushes and feathers, then painted. They undoubtedly used the same techniques of finding where the ducks wanted to go and became wellfed opportunists.
The following tips will help you find and hunt these cherished isolated spots. Big Rivers: Modern hunters watch waterfowl patterns and set up in the still waters. Today scouting and hunting almost anywhere on the river is possible due to the heavy John boats with large engines to fight the strong currents and steel props that are less likely to sheer off when running into submerged river debris. I don’t recommend wading on big river where the bottom is ever-changing due to the currents. Small Rivers: Small rivers are often overlooked and natural spots where ducks stack up and rest. Tributaries off big rivers or even waterways that connect to bigger lake spillways tend to draw ducks. We discovered this on a river that was wide, but shallow enough to wade with the exception of deep holes which made wading the entire river impossible. We carried bags of decoys to a stretch of straight channel connected between two deep channel bends. Flock after flock flew down the channel and landed in our decoys with very little invitation. They saw their brothers and sisters resting on a sandbar while others floated in the clear stream. A few flew past us and were encouraged with a little calling to come back for a closer look. Setting the decoys out took longer than the time to shoot our limits. Oxbows: Oxbows are shallow lakes that were once part of a big river. Big rivers tended to change course, land locking the shallow lakes. Oxbows may be large or pond sized and excellent spots for waterfowl. Check topographical maps or ask your local Conservation Department where to find oxbow lakes that might provide duck or goose hunting. Although big river conditions can change the best oxbow hunting spots, many are already hunted as we found out. Isolated Spots in Big Lakes: Many years ago, I traveled through shallow water in a small John boat loaded with decoys, two dogs, shotguns and two other hunters. They were maneuvering between trees in dark flooded timber to a grove that had been undiscovered by the crowds on the well-hunted lake. By morning I realized that no other humans were close and the place was crawling with ducks, mosquitoes and snakes.
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Feature Story But the mallards gave little thought to reptiles or bugs and tried to land in our decoys throughout the morning. Ironically few shots were heard on the main section of the lake where most hunters waited for flights. Ponds: You might be surprised how many ducks or geese will draw to a small pond close to hunting hotspots. Ironically, there are public area ponds that are isolated and filled with waterfowl but never hunted. Grass Fields or Winter Wheat: We sat in a Missouri duck blind several years ago and watched geese landing in a strip of green grass across the lake. Younger hunters in the blind noticed this too and set out the following morning with big bags of decoys. They were in the small field before sunup and had limited out a half-hour after legal shooting time opened. “The geese came in low and practically landed on our heads,” One of the hunters told me. “They were trying to land while we stood in the field and picked up decoys.” The hunters observed where the geese wanted to be and returned from the heavily-hunted lake for some quiet grazing. Grass fields or winter wheat on southern exposures tend to draw in geese on a cold day to soak up the warmth of sun rays. A few well-placed decoys and adequate calling will often bring the geese in to land without many cautionary circles to scan for danger. This is another type of area where you will see huge numbers of geese on your drive home. Ask permission to hunt and you might be surprised how many farmers will welcome you. Geese tend to pluck out a lot of valuable winter wheat shoots. Flooded Crops: During a wet year, fields of crops by flooded rivers are duck magnets. An old friend once found a hundred-acre cornfield standing in about three feet of flood water. He slipped in the cornrows and quickly limited out on ducks and geese. Scout out flooded row crops and you will likely find waterfowl. They love to find easy meals in areas where they can eat, drink, and rest in peace. Equipment: You are living in the day and age of layout blinds, four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles that allow decoys to be carried over rough terrain.
A good pair of binoculars makes scouting easier, especially when searching out fields from your car. Motorized vehicles will take you deep in swamp areas, but walking is a quieter way to scout. Waders are required. Some backwaters require wading where boat access is impossible. A “posterior” pad is more than welcome, especially when sitting on the ground. Five-gallon plastic buckets will work in a pinch when standard shooting seats are not available. Camouflaged netting, portable blinds that fold up to fit in a boat and decoys bags with shoulder straps for transporting decoys are a must for this kind of hunting. A strap on your shotgun is essential too. Asking Permission: Remember to be polite and helpful. I once stopped to help a farmer pick apples, resulting in a great deer hunt. Ask landowners where their livestock is located before starting a hunt. Make sure you avoid driving over crops by asking where they would prefer you drive. Offer them dressed-out ducks or geese when the hunt is over. Make sure you leave their property as you found it and pick up any trash, even if it is not yours. Do you want to hunt their property again? Then take a care package during the offseason so they will remember you. Kenny Kieser All photos courtesy of Kenneth Kieser.
After a Big Snow, Explore Your Winter Wonderland
he Christmas season may be over, but there’s still a winter wonderland to explore! There is either snow on the ground or some in the forecast in much of the country. For us outdoors people, we must take full advantage of the fantastic opportunity the snow provides. The snow creates a winter wonderland on our favorite hunting ground, whether it be our own farm or public land. So, get out and take a walk. There is a great learning experience in-store that will provide valuable insight of animal activity. As the snow falls and settles in the fields and below the trees, animals will generally stay hunkered down until it passes. But not for long. Soon, the forest floor and the open fields will be covered with tracks from animals traveling and searching for sustenance below the packed snow. In order to optimize your learning experience of animal patterns on your hunting ground, there are several key geographical areas you need to explore. Fields: Be sure to walk around the edge of any fields. You will be able to locate key entrance paths and also determine if there are particular points where the deer like to skirt the edge of the field or walk right out into the middle. You will also determine the overall level of activity coming through the field late in the year, which can help you develop some late-season strategies for next year. Food Plots: If you have a tree stand sitting over a food plot, then it is the perfect time to see what kind of traffic is coming through. I recently found a major pinch point of activity in one of our larger food plots that I would not have been able to see without snow and now I know exactly where to put a new tree stand. Fence Lines: Walking along a fence line can help detect where the deer is crossing, but it is also helpful if you are pursuing other animals. Coyotes love traveling along fence lines, and if you can find a major crossing through the barbed wire, you might be able to set yourself a snare and bag yourself a predator! The deer and turkeys would sure appreciate it.
Exploring your hunting area in the snow can yield fantastic knowledge for next hunting season. You might even find a deer and turkey highway like this one. (Photo: Tyler Mahoney)
Bedding Areas: The important thing to look for when exploring bedding areas in the snow is the direction of the tracks. Deer can develop very consistent patterns, entering the bedding area from one direction but leaving from another. Once you determine if such a pattern exists, put up some trail cameras and find out what time of the day they are coming in or leaving at each point. That should help you tremendously with strategy and stand location in the future. General Timber/Forest: Walking through standing timber with snow on the ground will tell you the same info mentioned previously. But it might be especially helpful in finding where the turkeys are spending time. Spring isn’t far away, so locating where they are scratching around in the undergrowth for acorns or where they are roosting is likely to help you find a good spot to set up once the season opens. There is no telling what kind of tracks or animal sign you might discover. You’ll be blessed with breathtakingly scenic landscapes of ice and snow. If the air isn’t too brutally cold, it is also a fantastic opportunity to introduce someone new to the outdoor world, especially young kids who will be fascinated by the tracks they find. So, if you were planning on practicing your hibernation skills after the next blizzard, try something else. Bundle up, drink some coffee or hot chocolate, and get out to the woods! Tyler Mahoney JANUARY - 2021
What Not to Do on a Cold Winter Day
t was that dreaded time of year. No, I don’t mean tax time! It was the time that comes every year when there are no hunting seasons open and spring fishing was still weeks away. Usually I would go for a hike or something, but the wind was blowing so hard the snow was falling horizontally, not vertically. There were even small dog warnings out. What that meant was, if you had a dog like a Toy Poodle or a Chihuahua, there were precautions you needed to take. If they needed to go outside to do their duty, they should be securely fastened to a long leash or they could be blown away into the next county by the wind. A little while ago I thought my crazy old neighbor lady was out in her housecoat trying to fly a kite in the wind. The kite was her dog “Poo Poo,” and I wasn’t really sure it was my neighbor because her house coat had blown up over her head.
It was not a pretty sight. I was getting ready to run out and help her but thank God her husband came to her and “Poo Poo’s” rescue. Now, I have to get that terrible vision out of my head. With all the excitement over, I decided this would be a good day to start getting my fishing stuff ready for the days to come with promises of beautiful sunny skies and gentle breezes. I comforted myself with the words some wise person once said, “No winter will last forever and no spring skips its turn.” I started by going to the garage and bringing in all my rods and reels. It took several trips. My wife doesn’t believe me that there are male and female fishing rods and reels and they multiply when stored in a dark garage. After checking over the rods for bent guides, cracks and such, I removed all the line from the reels, especially all those with bird nests. I sure wish the birds wouldn’t do that. Next, I cleaned them up, oiled them and tightened screws.
Feature Story Then out came the spools of line I had bought on sale three years ago. I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t lose a fish again like that huge bass that broke my line right at the boat last year. Some of my older rods and reels needed to be replaced, but that’s hard to do when you’ve had them so long. They seem like an old friend. Besides, with some of the prices they want for the latest and greatest rods and reels I would have to take out a small loan to pay for them. I lovingly carried all my rods and reels back to the garage and threw them in a corner. Now it was time for several trips bringing in all my tackle boxes. My wife wasn’t falling for the same story I gave her about the rods and reels. She just shook her head and left the room. It is amazing what you can find in your tackle boxes when you sit down to straighten them out and clean them up on a cold winter day. Like the crankbait I found in one of them that had no rear treble hooks. It was because I had to have them cut off after I buried it in my forehead when I hung it up in a tree and tried to jerk it loose. I sure got some funny looks while walking from the boat ramp to my truck and even stranger looks as I walked into the hospital emergency room. You would think they had never seen anyone with a crankbait hanging down between their eyes. As I continued to rummage through tackle boxes, I came across a beat-up old jitterbug. It was the one I had used to damage my boat and the snake that was trying to get in the boat with me. One of the hooks was bent out straight. I guess that happened when I accidentally hooked the snake and tried to cast it out as far as I could. In more tackle boxes I found dried-up worms, a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich, a melted candy bar, old fishing line, rusted hooks, assorted sinkers everywhere, empty pork rind jars, used Band-Aids and dried blood in several places. I don’t remember how I cut myself. Maybe it was that snakes fault. My exceptional mind thought it would be a good idea to take everything out of each tackle box and lay it out on the floor. That way I could wash out all the tackle boxes in the bathtub, dry them out with my wife’s bath towels and then put everything back in each box organized by type of bait. That way, I would also know what I needed to repair or replace. While I was doing that I came across my favorite spinnerbait. You know, when I go to heaven, I want to take that spinnerbait with me. I shall cast with care into weedy waters where big bass lurk and a monster bass shall rise and strike my favorite spinnerbait with fury.
I shall fight it until it is near the boat until the beautiful, blonde, long-legged, buxom woman I am with shall shout with fright at the sight of the monster bass. Net, I shall shout. Net! And this woman shall reach so swiftly for the net that I shall not lose the fish. That’s not how it happened last summer when my wife tried to help me and heaven should be different, shouldn’t it? Speaking of my wife, one thing you should never do when cleaning and organizing tackle boxes is wash out your tackle boxes in your wife’s bathtub that she loves taking bubble baths in. Also, never lay out your lures and hooks on her carpeted floor. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get hooks out of carpet without having a lot of snags everywhere? That, along with lots of stains that won’t come out, means I will be replacing the carpet in a few weeks. I hope I did a good enough job cleaning the bathtub that I don’t have to replace it. Did I mention that I will also be cutting out all expenditures I had planned for fishing tackle and even some fishing trips to help pay for all this? The next time we have a cold winter day, and I am looking for something to do, I think I will read a book, watch a movie, or take a nap. Cleaning out tackle boxes is expensive.
Larry Whiteley (Left) A heavenly bass. (Photo: Courtesy of Larry Whitely) (Top) The dog, Poo-Poo. (Photo: Courtesy of Larry Whitely)
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Managing the Turkey Decline F
or decades, Missouri residents have enjoyed some of the best deer and turkey hunting to be found anywhere on earth. This is especially true if you hunt north of the river where our rich soils are blanketed by a mosaic of oak/hickory upland forests, legume over-seeded pastures, row crop, CRP ground in native warm season grasses, and capillaried by riparian habitats all combining to enable some of the highest carrying capacities youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll find anywhere. Talk to anyone that hunted turkeys in north Missouri in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and they will tell you stories of April spring woods where the gobbling gobblers were too numerous even to count and winter flocks numbered in the hundreds. Talk to anyone who has hunted turkeys in the last five years, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll hear mostly complaining that the gobbling gobblers are countable and that count is zero in some cases. The turkey decline is real, significant, not unique to Missouri, and everyone would like to hear the spring woods filled with gobbling again. The reason for the decline is that our poults are not surviving at the same rate they were during those hay days in the early 2000s. Adult mortality has not changed, nesting and even hatching rates are also within the range of what has historically been considered normal.
Feature Story However, once hatched, the number of poults that we add to the fall population is significantly lower than what has been previously measured. The recently concluded 5-year study in northeast Missouri documented some of the lowest poult survival rates ever recorded in the Midwest…why? Although there are multiple reasons for this change, it is hard to ignore the fact that at the same time our turkey numbers have declined, populations of animals that eat eggs and poults have increased significantly. Although this relationship between higher populations of predators and lower populations of prey between now and the early 2000’s seems pretty linear, this is not a problem that is as easily solved as many want to believe. Some ask for the predator season to be extended, and others think a bounty would be the right way to go. While many do not value furbearers and consider them a nuisance to be rid of, they are native species that belong on our landscape as much as the turkeys do. They just aren’t being harvested anymore, so there is nothing other than natural predation, disease, and vehicles managing their numbers.
However, this is a lot of extra work, and most need the economic incentive that comes with a strong raw fur market because trapping and fur hunting is a lot of work and requires expensive specialized equipment and knowledge to be successful. Bounties would also not work. The bounty would have to be high enough to create a significant incentive and that would be cost-prohibitive (in the millions).
Trapping will certainly hone your skills as a woodsman because being successful requires a more detailed understanding of animal behavior. It could even be considered a form of redneck brain exercise. If you put out several dozen sets, remembering how many you set, where they all are, and finding them in the dark of the predawn morning can be challenging. Trapping "Trapping will certainly hours also gives me a different perspective hone your skills as a and appreciation for the same piece of ground than when I look at it woodsman because through my turkey or deer hunter being successful eyes.
requires a more detailed understanding of animal behavior. It could even be considered a form of redneck brain exercise."
Regulations that govern the harvest of furbearers include unrestricted harvest within the open season (11/15/20-1/31/21). That means you can take as many as you can capture or call up and twoand-a-half months is plenty of time to get it done if that is what you want to do. The problem with the reduced harvest is not lack of time, its lack of motivation. The fur market has been weak since the initial crash in the 1980s, and it has been practically nonexistent for the last 4 or 5 years with no anticipated recovery any time soon. Raw hides currently have virtually no value, so no one is participating anymore. I love the unique challenge that the sport of fur trapping and predator hunting offers me, and I still participate in selling finished hides and other products in niche markets.
Analyzing the landscape, assessing topographical features, reading tracks and sign to select a particular trap site and then properly setting and bedding the trap is something I have always enjoyed. The work is a little physical and once the finishing touches have been put on the last trap on the line the anticipation of what that line will produce the next morning has always been a bit like a kid awaiting Christmas morning to dawn so they can find out what is under the tree to me. November through the end of January has always been a pretty special time for me, and there is not much else going on outdoors-wise during the last month of the season, so trapping is a great way to spend time outdoors at that time of year. Although I love to trap, and am pretty good at it, I do it because I enjoy the sport and not to “do my part” to help out the turkeys, rabbits, and quail. Predator control can only be achieved at the landscape level, and that can only effectively and affordably be accomplished when everyone is out there applying harvest pressure across the board.
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If you want to do something that WILL make a difference for the turkeys, another outdoor physical activity that is best done at this time of year is active forest management. Most of our forested land in Missouri is overstocked and closed canopied. There are roughly twice as many trees in our average Missouri woods than there should be to maximize the health and growth rate of each tree. By felling or girdling excess trees, the ones that remain will grow larger crowns that produce more acorns and put on height and diameter much faster than when it is competing with other trees for water and soil nutrients. For detailed information on how to effectively implement active forest management on your property it is best to contact a resource professional. The NWTF has 3 Project Foresters servicing different areas of the state that provide technical assistance to private landowners. Tyler Cooper services most of northwest Missouri (tcooper@ nwtf.net), Justin Ferguson services St. François and surrounding counties (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Will Rechkemmer services Texas and surrounding counties (email@example.com). If you are interested in receiving technical assistance in an area, they do not cover you can also go to https://mdc.mo.gov/ contact-engage for contact information on your MDC resource professional that serves your county.
Although I recommend seeking professional advice directly from a resource professional, I will offer the following general guidelines. Selecting which trees you should remove is usually determined by species, size, and shape. You want to get rid of trees that don’t have much economic or wildlife value (maples, elms, ironwood, some hickories). Another determination would be to keep a diversity of valuable species. Having a mix of white oak and red oak species is better than favoring all whites or all reds with oaks. White oak acorns take one year to develop and red oaks take two. White oaks flower two weeks ahead of reds and drop their bounty pretty much all at once early in the fall while reds sprinkle throughout the fall and winter. From a wildlife perspective, the benefit of managing for this diversity is somewhat of an insurance policy against a total mast failure. Both deer and turkey rely heavily upon acorns during the fall and winter so wherever there are acorns, that is where the deer and turkey will be. Great mast crops are also linked to deer and turkey productivity the following spring. The next determination would be removing trees that are ill-formed or suppressed. (Top) Using prescribed fire is a great tool to increase your turkey habitat. (Photo: Courtesy of John Burk)
Feature Story Another simple rule of thumb that can help you gauge how much to cut is to take the diameter at breast height (DBH) measurement of the tree you are keeping, multiply that by two, convert that to feet, and remove everything else in that circle. In other words, if you have a 15-inch tree, remove everything within 30 feet of that tree. The next determination would be how to manage the volume of trees to be removed. In many cases, the recommended thinning rate would be half the trees in your woods. Therefore, if you dropped them all you would have a treatment area that would look like tornado damage and, from a turkey management perspective, it would be too thick. I usually recommend dropping everything 8 inches or less and ringing everything bigger. Ringing is essentially cutting entirely through the cambium or bark of the tree around it in two places about 3 or 4 inches apart. When the cambium is completely breached, the water flow and nutrients to the tree are cut off and the tree dies. The desired canopy gap still exists without creating the jumbled mess on the forest floor, and the standing dead tree will provide foraging sites and probably also future denning sites as it decays over time. The canopy gaps created by these thinnings allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. The grasses and broadleaf plants that respond to this daylighting create excellent nesting and broodrearing habitat for turkeys and numerous other species that prefer this kind of vegetative structure.
To maintain this structure, you will eventually have to incorporate the use of prescribed fire or the grass and broadleaf plants replaced by tree seedlings and saplings. A portion of this type of vegetative structure can also be beneficial, but when the entire stand is allowed to turn into a hardwood thicket, it is no longer usable space for wild turkeys. Trapping and predator hunting is a challenging and rewarding pastime that I encourage everyone to try. Still, it does not move the needle much at the scale it is currently being done when it comes to increasing turkey populations. If you want more turkeys, you get a lot more bang for your buck by providing highquality nesting and brood-rearing habitat. Predator control is probably the most expensive thing that you can effectively do, and even then, it rarely mitigates for marginal habitat quality. It doesn’t take many predators to impact turkey populations when nesting and brood-rearing habitat is low quality or sparse. However, when your nesting and broodrearing cover is of high quality and abundant, more of your poults will survive, and your population will increase. If you think about it, it makes sense. When you have great nesting and brood-rearing habitat, you also actually have higher predator densities because the good habitat is suitable for everything and prey populations determine predator populations, not the other way around. November through April is a great time to be an outdoors person. Deer seasons are in full swing on the front end and from mid-November, until the end of January, you can learn a new skill that I have found adds significantly to the quality of my outdoor year. Perfecting your “honey hole” can be accomplished from January through mid-April, and the end of that window will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor. John Burk Trapping can be a great way to reduce predators that hurt the turkey population. (All Photo Credits: John Burk)
JANUARY - 2021
Anniversary Rabbit Hunt
was outside early in the morning darkness during the last week of October loading my hunting dogs into the trailer. It was also our 32nd wedding anniversary. I arranged for a great evening anniversary celebration, but there was no reason I couldn't squeeze in a rabbit hunt beforehand. I know now that the last week of October is a terrible time to get married because of the serious anniversary conflicts. Obviously, I was too smitten by Mrs. Urich to think of the future ramifications. It's a busy time of the year with pheasant seasons in Iowa and South Dakota, the Missouri Waterfowl season, and other major conflicts. It's also a busy time at work, especially with travel requirements. Consequently, I had made less than half of our anniversaries.
Some of my notable anniversary failures were seared onto my skull's inside for easy, convenient future reference. Today I was finally breaking the 50% barrier. My goal was 75% by the 50th, which meant I needed to pick up the pace. I know now a sweet spot on the calendar is more suitable for a marriage and subsequent anniversaries. There is a six-week period from February 16th, the day after rabbit season, to April 1st when the crappie fishing picks up. Fortunately, 2 out of 3 sons were born during the sweet spot. The 3rd missed it by a couple of days but was close enough to not cause severe inconveniences over the years.
Feature Story I went inside to say goodbye to Mrs. Urich. She wished me a happy anniversary and said she was looking forward to our evening together. Then she gave me "The Look". Her message was clear; you mess this anniversary up with another hunting trip, and I will grind your bones to make my bread. After more than three decades of marriage to me, Mrs. Urich had honed her nonverbal facial expressions and body language into a clear, concise communication vector. She could teach a college-level linguistics course on the subject. All I could think as I went out the door was copy that. I picked up two other hunters and we headed to southern Moniteau County. I unloaded five beagles, a basset hound and two Labradors. I started hunting with basset hounds years ago when my vet called and asked me to take a stray puppy. It turned out to be a great rabbit hunter, and I continued with the tradition. This time I was hunting with a new basset, Porterhouse. For some reason, I named my hunting dogs after cuts of meat. Hunters routinely asked me if bassets could run fast enough to keep up with the beagles. It was never a problem. Bassets are like people, keep them lean and in shape and they're good runners. Finally, I called a halt to the hunt, mindful of my anniversary date with Mrs. Urich. It takes a while to round up and load the dogs plus clean the rabbits. About 15 minutes after we left, the rear tire on the truck blew out. Spare tires are stored under the bed of the truck. I had to thread a segmented rod through a hole in the bumper and twist it to lower the tire. I got the tire down about 4 inches and then broke the mechanism that lowers the tire. This was a serious problem. Getting a tow truck would take hours, and I would miss our anniversary celebration. Suddenly I was worried about my bones. Of course, it started to rain. Then a thought began to coalesce in the dark recesses of my mind where the brain cells are thick and sludgy and thought is almost a forgotten process. I faintly remembered a hacksaw blade in my toolbox and found it. Then I asked my two hunting companions to crawl under the truck to hold the tire up. They weren't happy with this assignment considering the rain and mud, but after I gave them my version of "The Look," they were more compliant. After all, I learned from the master.
I contorted my upper torso and arm into the shape of a pretzel and began sawing on the cable that held the tire. I thought that being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because the tire fell on my head would be preferable to standing in front of Mrs. Urich atoning for another missed anniversary because of a hunting trip. Fortunately, it worked. When I got home, I didn't have time to unload the dogs from their boxes in the trailer. I walked into the house 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave. Mrs. Urich was stunning in her anniversary outfit but agitated. I don't know why because technically, I was early. Less than 10 minutes later I was ready. I had coupons for two free dinners at a nice restaurant, which reduced the anniversary celebration's cost considerably. I could use the money for a new truck tire. After dinner, Mrs. Urich placed a bag on the table with my anniversary present. I pulled an original 1960s lava lamp out of the bag. This was a big surprise. I was hoping for shotgun shells or new boots. When we were married, I was broke, so all I brought to the union was several peanut butter jars full of pennies, a lava lamp and a severe commitment to a life with Mrs. Urich. Several years later, she cashed in my pennies and went out to lunch. She sold the lava lamp at the neighbor's garage sale because it didn't go with her 18thcentury antique furniture. I had forgotten all about it, and I didn't even remember owning a lava lamp. Naturally, I thought what other sneaky things she has done to me that I could now exploit. There was an electrical outlet at the table, so I plugged in the lamp. The restaurant owner was so impressed with the story he ordered two free desserts, which meant more money for the tire fund. Three women asked about the lamp as they walked by. That's when the more alert portions of my mind ignited in thought. A key to a successful, long-term marriage is cunning, quick thinking at just the appropriate time.
JANUARY - 2021
Feature Story I held Mrs. Urich's hands, and in a voice loud enough so the people at adjacent tables could hear, I said we had very little when we were married but we had this lava lamp. Every year we plug it in as a reminder of our commitment to each other and our wonderful lives together. I could hear every woman within earshot swoon. Even my little voice complimented me despite the shameless stretching of the truth. I could sense the other women in the restaurant looking at their male companions and thinking, why can't you be more like that guy? After we got home, I went outside to let the dogs out of their boxes and tend to Mrs. Urich's horses. Post anniversary celebration horse duty in the dark and cold is my responsibility.
As I was shoveling out the last stall, I paused and thought how close to another anniversary disaster I came that would undoubtedly be etched on the inside of my skull below all the others. Finally, the celestial forces had interceded on my behalf by reminding me about the hacksaw blade. I just wish they would do this more frequently because I sure could use the help. David Urich (Cover) David Urich with hunting dogs in southern Moniteau County. The basset hound is the third dog from the right. The spare tire is now stored in the back of the truck. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich) (Bottom) David Urich with all hunting dogs following a January rabbit hunt on the Urich farm in Moniteau County. The basset hound, Porterhouse, is the third dog from the right. (Photo: Courtesy of David Urich)
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Champions for a
or a while, when the urban centers of Missouri were building boulevards and parks, elms were the undisputed king of trees in Kansas City. In 1924, the district manager at a national tree surgery organization told the Kansas City Star that at least seven to eight out of every ten trees in Kansas City were elm trees. “Kansas City owes a great debt to the elm tree,” he remarked.
There were many stately specimens among these Kansas City elms. One tree on Concord Ave spread its branches a whopping 113 feet wide. It had a trunk that was 4’4” in diameter. Another on West Fifty-Second Street was the tallest—and this tree was the recipient of the most tree surgery performed in the area after it was struck by lightning. The surgery is credited with saving its life.
Feature Story Despite their size and shape, none of these trees were as revered or loved as an elm tree on a peninsula in Swope Park overlooking the banks of the Blue River. In 1929 a delegation of students at Teachers College requested that this elm be named after Albert Shirling, a teacher, naturalist, and prolific nature writer, and became known as the Shirling Elm. The Shirling Elm eventually became the world champion rock elm tree and held that title for decades. Albert Shirling passed away in October of 1947, but his tree remained. Still listed as a champion in 1973, it measured 99’ tall with an 11’ 2” circumference. Unfortunately, the tree eventually succumbed to either age, damage done by a fire set at its base years before, or Dutch elm disease that took almost all of Kansas City’s grand elm trees. One of the early advocates for crowning trees kings was Kendall Laughlin. A Kansas City native-born a decade before the turn of the century, Laughlin was once said to have discovered more champion trees than anyone else. Many of those were in the Kansas City area and within Swope Park, where he would ride through on his bicycle. Laughlin eventually moved to Chicago, but would make regular trips back to Kansas City to measure the champions it harbored. The National Register of Big Trees was started in 1940. Candidates for champion trees are measured as follows: • Measure the circumference of the trunk at 4.5 ft above the ground • Measure the crown spread by setting a stake at opposite ends of the crown farthest from the trunk. Next, measure the crown spread at the closest distance to the trunk. Add the two numbers together and divide by two for the average crown spread. • Measure the height by setting a 5-foot target against the trunk of a tree. Using a yardstick held vertically and notched at each inch, back away from the tree until the 5-foot target fills exactly one inch of the yardstick. Each inch the tree fills is now equal to 5 feet. If the trees fill 10 inches, it is a 50-foot tree.
The sum of the circumference, height, and one-quarter of the average crown size gives the tree a numerical value. When it has the highest numerical value of its species, it is named a champion. Missouri recognizes state champion as well as national champion trees. Champion trees are deeply loved by those that revel in their beauty and rest in their shade. Missouri is currently home to 11 National Champion trees, but perhaps the most well known and beloved is the bur oak in McBaine, MO. Estimated to be close to 400 years old, the McBaine Bur Oak stood guard as Lewis and Clark passed down the Missouri River a few hundred yards away. With its roots firmly on private land, the owners have been gracious in sharing the beloved tree with the public, often stating the tree belongs to everyone. In October 2020, a lightning strike set the tree on fire. Social media erupted with an outpouring of concern, support, and memories of the tree. The Boone County Fire Department’s quick response put the fire out and has given the tree a chance of adding more growth rings and more admirers. They say an oak tree grows for 100 years, thrives for 100 years, and takes 100 years to die. There are many Missourians thankful the McBaine Bur Oak has set its own pace moving through time, serving and inspiring those that visit it. Long may Missouri’s champion trees reign. For a listing of Missouri trees go to: https://mdc.mo.gov/ trees-plants/missouri-state-champion-trees/missouriscurrent-champion-trees. For a listing of the 654 national champion trees go to: https://www. americanforests.org/get-involved/ americas-biggest-trees/champion-treesnational-register/. Mary Nemececk President of Burroughs Audubon The Burr Oak tree. (Photo: Courtesy of MDC)
JANUARY - 2021
Stabilizing Kiefer Creek at Castlewood State Park
unning through the heart of Castlewood State Park in St. Louis County is Kiefer Creek—a small but important tributary to the Meramec River, which eventually makes it way to the Mississippi River and all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. The Nature Conservancy, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri State Parks have partnered stabilize more than 2,000 feet of severely eroding stream bank along Kiefer Creek and improve approximately nine acres of riparian habitat—which is the vegetation and plant communities surrounding the creek.
Castlewood State Park. (Photo Courtesy of Missouri State Parks)
“Castlewood State Park provides a Missouri state park experience with its rugged terrain, river bluffs and bottom land forests. For many, this is the first experience of what makes Missouri state parks special places,” says Greg Combs, Eastern Regional Director for Missouri State Parks. “The purpose of the Kiefer Creek Restoration Project is to begin restoring the banks of Kiefer Creek to continue to share the beauty of these great natural resources.” The Problem: Erosion Erosion is among the largest contributors to stream degradation in the Meramec River Basin and is not only a problem in Missouri but is a chronic problem nationwide. “When a stream bank starts to erode, it begins to pull large sections or chunks of the land into the river. That soil—or sediment as it’s commonly referred to—is then carried downstream,” says Steve Herrington, Director of Science and Impact Measures for The Nature Conservancy in Missouri. “That causes a problem for people and for nature.” Once the sediment hits the stream it starts to fill in all the little cracks and crevices along the bottom of the stream, which are critical for fish habitat and breeding. “A decline in the quality of habitat often results in a decline in the biodiversity of that stream,” says Herrington. For people, erosion poses multiple problems. First, if you’re the landowner, you’re slowly losing your land to the stream—and flood events cause the erosion to substantially speed up. These particular project sites along Kiefer Creek at Castlewood have experienced extensive land loss over the past 10 years.
Feature Story A decline in the quality of habitat often results in a decline in the biodiversity of that stream. The excess sediment caused by eroding stream banks also impacts recreational opportunities—a big aspect of the Meramec River for locals and tourists. Sediment can also make it more expensive for water treatment facilities to produce clean drinking water. In St. Louis, nearly 70,000 households get their drinking water from the Meramec River. Stabilizing the Stream The good news is that there is a way to fix the problem— using nature-based solutions to stop the erosion, enhance habitat for fish and wildlife and improve downstream recreational benefits. Nature-based solutions use natural systems, mimic natural processes and work in tandem with traditional approaches. For this project, contractors with extensive experience in nature-based solutions have been hired to stabilize the stream using natural materials—trees, root wads, willow stakes, natural fibers and more. “This technique is not new,” says Herrington. “It has been successfully demonstrated on smaller and larger-scale projects across the country and here in Missouri.” The Kiefer Creek project will be completed in two phases, with phase one occurring in late summer of 2020 and phase two planned for winter 2020 and spring 2021. The site will also serve as a demonstration in a suburbanized area to promote the use of nature-based techniques and allow other agencies and contractors to see first-hand the benefits these techniques provide to nature and to people. “The park contains some of the last pieces of green space in St. Louis County,” says Ken McCarty, Natural Resource Management Program Director for Missouri State Parks. But it’s not just people who come to Castlewood to benefit from nature. “The park provides essential habitat for migratory birds including the Cerulean Warbler, a migratory bird described by MDC as “rare and imperiled in our state,” says McCarty. In fact, a portion of the park has been recognized by the Audubon Society as an Important Birding Area. Since the park was established, this region of St. Louis County has seen a rapid transformation into suburbs for the St. Louis area. This rapid development has impacted the Kiefer Creek watershed, changing the stream.“Castlewood State Park is an ideal place to showcase the techniques of this project," says Greg Combs, Eastern Regional Director for Missouri State Parks. “Using bioengineering techniques with natural materials such as rock and live staking, the banks of Kiefer creek will begin to restore a riparian corridor that will prevent the high bank erosion during heavy rainfall events.”
Funding the Project Funding of this project was also a collaboration, with support from state and federal grants as well as the philanthropic support of the Robert J. Trulaske, Jr. Family Foundation. “It is exciting to see The Nature Conservancy commit to the restoration of a watershed in an area frequented by many St. Louisans,” says Jeanne Trulaske Dalba, President of the Robert J. Trulaske, Jr Family Foundation. “The resulting improvements to the scenic character and functionality of Kiefer Creek will benefit the ecosystem, wildlife and park visitors for present and future generations.” This project is also partially funded by a Section 319 Nonpoint Source Implementation (NPS) Grant—section 319 refers to that portion of the Clean Water Act that provides States with funds to address nonpoint source pollution. The funds are administered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and made available to nonprofit organizations, state and local governments and educational institutions for projects in priority watersheds that have the greatest ability to restore the quality of waters on the state's 303(d) List of impaired waters due to NPS pollution. Typical 319 project activities include pollution prevention and watershed rehabilitation through the installation of land management practices, education, demonstration projects, monitoring, technical assistance, and aquatic habitat improvements. Follow Along The two phases of the project are expected to be completed by spring 2021, but conclusion of construction is just the beginning of the transformation. Throughout the next 2-3 years, park visitors will see that riparian habitat along the creek grow. Trees will be planted, pollinators will feed on a host of native plants and flowers, and the new stream bank will flourish with a variety of lush vegetation that will provide refuge to aquatic and other wildlife species. While most may not notice that the creek is no longer eroding the land, this project will help keep Castlewood State Park a place where future generations can come to splash in the creek, hike the bluffs and enjoy the beauty of nature. For more information and updates on this project, visit www.nature.org/CastlewoodRestoration.
Courtesy of Missouri State Parks JANUARY - 2021
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