Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Sailing Association recognizes Stockton State Park Marina Sailing School

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Feb. 28, 2012 – The American Sailing Association recognized the Stockton State Park Marina Sailing School as one of the top 20 schools for sailing instruction in 2011. This marks the third year in a row that the sailing school has received this designation.

“For the third year running, the American Sailing Association recognized the top-notch Stockton State Park Marina Sailing School,” said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “Missouri State Parks is proud to offer this activity as another way to experience the Missouri outdoors.”

The sailing school was started in 2005 and has taught 241 students, awarding 383 certifications. Students are eligible to receive multiple certifications at the time of their lesson. Stockton State Park Marina Sailing School offers classes May to October, during the week and on weekends. Classes are offered to groups of up to six people, as well as individual instruction. Classes offered include the American Sailing Association 101, 103, 104 and 105.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

MDC Video" Headwaters" (1966)

The upper reaches of streams are a wonderful part of this world. But they are delicate and vulnerable environments, often assaulted unknowingly by human use of the land. The film introduces the "citizens" of this unique world, featuring the smallmouth bass, and shows how these creatures live and die in a small community.
Produced by Missouri Dept. of Conservation (1966).

NOTE: Some information contained within this film may be outdated.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“Wildlife Magic” exhibit to open at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site

The Missouri State Capital Building in Jeffers...
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., FEB. 21, 2012 – “Wildlife Magic,” an exhibition of nature photography by Bob Colvin, will be featured at the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site’s Elizabeth Rozier Gallery beginning March 1 through May 26.

Bob Colvin, a Jefferson City native, has been pursuing his passion of wildlife photography for nearly 30 years. He is an avid traveler and a member of the Jefferson City Photo Club. This exhibit features photographs of animals taken during his travels. He will host a reception for his artwork at the Rozier Gallery on Saturday, April 14 from noon until 3 p.m.

The Elizabeth Rozier Gallery is located in the Union Hotel at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, 101 Jefferson Street, Jefferson City. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Jefferson Landing State Historic Site is managed by Missouri State Parks.

For more information, contact the Missouri State Museum office at 573-751-2854. For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Discover Hunting—Spring Turkey

Public Domain image from English Wikipedia of ...
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Can you gobble, yelp or putt? Harvesting a turkey takes good calling skills. Here’s your chance to learn how or just refine your skills at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center on Saturday, February 25 from noon to 2 pm.

We’ll start out learning about the upcoming turkey season and various calling methods. Then we’ll make a slate call and take some time to practice outdoors. Who knows, you may even call one in!

Ages 16 and up. Registration is required. Call 573-290-5218 to register or for more information.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

March 1 is take-a-trout-to-lunch day in Missouri

Trout fishing in Bennett Spring State Park in ...
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MDC trout hatcheries are economic engines.
JEFFERSON CITY–If Missouri is the state “Where the Rivers Run,” hatcheries at Missouri trout parks are the confluence of spiritual health and financial wealth.
More than 1.7 million visitors from Missouri and beyond flock to the Show-Me State’s four trout parks each year. They come to leave their troubles behind and to lose themselves in the beauty of nature and the pursuit of rainbow trout. Along the way, they also leave more than $100 million, which supports thousands of jobs and sustains local economies.
Three of Missouri’s trout parks–Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking and Roaring River State Park near Cassville–are owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Maramec Spring Park near St. James belongs to the James Foundation. These destinations, with campgrounds, hiking trails, historic buildings and other amenities, are wonderful destinations in their own rights. But trout provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) are the main attraction.
March 1 marks the start of the catch-and-keep fishing season at trout parks, and thousands of anglers have been making the pilgrimage to Missouri’s trout temples on that date for more than 70 years. The number of anglers present on opening day depends partly on weather, but just as important is the day of the week on which March 1 falls. Total attendance at all four parks has topped 14,000 in years when the weather was good and the season opener fell on a weekend. This year’s Thursday opener promises a moderate turnout, even with good weather.
Bennett Spring, Montauk and Roaring River expect approximately 2,000 anglers each. Maramec Spring expects to host as many as 1,000 anglers. Gov. Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon plans to launch the 2012 catch-and-keep season by firing the opening gun at Roaring River. Retired science teacher Berry Reynolds, of Licking, will fire the opening gun at Montauk. He has fished every opening day at Montauk since 1973.
Hatchery managers use these estimates to determine how many trout to stock each day. Throughout most of the season, they stock 2.25 fish per expected angler. On opening day, however, they put three fish in the water for every angler they expect to attend. These fish average around 12 inches long. However, MDC also stocks dozens of “lunkers,” surplus hatchery brood fish weighing upwards of 3 pounds. A few tip the scales at more than 10 pounds.
This year, opening-day anglers will get more than a chance to catch big fish. They will receive lapel buttons designed to raise awareness of didymo, an invasive algae also known as “rock snot,” thanks to its unsavory appearance. Didymo blankets the beds of cold-water streams with unattractive mats that choke out native plants, degrading fish habitat. It reduces natural food sources and fouls hooks, making fishing nearly impossible.
In an attempt to keep didymo out of Missouri, the Conservation Commission has banned the use of felt- or other porous-soled waders, which can harbor didymo cells. More information on the ban and instructions for converting porous-soled waders for legal use is available at
Didymo can hitch a ride to new waters even without the help of porous soles, however. So, as a further precaution, MDC has installed wader-washing stations to disinfect waders at all four trout parks, and at Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery near Branson.
MDC also urges anglers to keep didymo out of Missouri with the following precautions.
·        Check all fishing gear and equipment and remove any visible algae. Dispose of algae by placing it in the trash, not by putting it down a drain or into bodies of water.
·        Then Clean all gear and equipment with a solution of 2-percent bleach, 5-percent saltwater, or dishwashing detergent. Allow all equipment to stay in contact with the solution for at least three minutes. Soak all soft items, such as felt-soled waders and wader boot cuffs, neoprene waders and life jackets, in the solution for at least 20 minutes.
·        Or Dry all gear and equipment for at least 48 hours by exposing it to sunlight.
Anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri’s trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag. Nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit. Anglers who are exempt from permit requirements due to age or other circumstances must carry documentation to verify their exempt status.
For more information about trout-park fishing, call 417-532-4418 for Bennett Spring,573-265-7801 for Maramec, 573-548-2585 for Montauk or 417-847-2430 for Roaring River.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Invasive Species Week has special significance in Missouri

A shell of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha
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Missourians who care about conservation can help
protect the natural world by participating in this national observance.
JEFFERSON CITY–Some invasive plants and animals come in ships from halfway around the globe. Others leapfrog from one watershed to the next in bait buckets. Occasionally they arrive in pickup trucks under cover of darkness. The National Invasive Species Council (NISC) wants to get all Americans involved in stopping them.
Invasive plants and animals are in the news more than ever today. Despite the flood of information, the nature of the threat sometimes seems vague and distant. To increase popular awareness of hos invasive exotics threaten the nation’s economy, ecology and culture, NISC has designated Feb. 26 through March 3 National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Learn how you can reduce the threat from invasive species at
Missouri’s location astride several transcontinental transportation arteries and the nation’s largest river systems puts the Show-Me State squarely in the middle of invasive species issues. The problem is not new. The common carp, originally native to Eurasia, has been in the United States since the 1800s, about the same time that kudzu arrived from Japan. Dozens of other species that we now think of as part of the Show-Me State’s native flora and fauna actually are naturalized inhabitants. Most of them get along reasonably well with the natives. A few cause problems, however.
The zebra mussel is a prime example of a troublemaker. This thumbnail-sized freshwater mollusk also originated in Eurasia. It arrived in the Great Lakes in the 1980s in the ballast tanks of cargo ships. Since then, it has spread to several states, including Missouri. Zebra mussels are so prolific that they choke out native mussels, damage boats, docks and marine engines and block water intakes of municipal and commercial utilities.
Kudzu is another good example of a destructive invader. It didn’t sneak into the country the way the zebra mussel did. The Japanese government proudly escorted the vining plant into the United States for its debut at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It was touted for its value as a forage plant and widely promoted for erosion control.
Kudzu liked its new home so well that it took off at a gallop southward and westward and has only slowed down where cold or drought made it feel unwelcome. Along the way, it bushwhacked unsuspecting native plants, including trees.
Those two stories neatly bookend the larger tale of invasive species in America. Introducing organisms into new areas, whether deliberately or by mistake, is one of the world’s most powerful lessons about unintended consequences.
Missouri’s catalog of invasive plants and animals is too extensive to list. Species of primary concern at the moment include the following.
·        The Asian longhorn beetle, emerald ash borer and gypsy moth are destructive forest pests.
·        The walnut twig beetle spreads thousand-cankers disease, which threatens Missouri’s multi-million dollar black-walnut industry.
·        Feral hogs damage wildlife habitat and agricultural crops and carry diseases that affect livestock and humans.
·        The bighead, black and silver carp could drastically alter the food chain of lakes and streams with consequences that remain uncertain.
·        Bush and Japanese honeysuckle choke out native vegetation, reducing biological diversity and degrading wildlife habitat.
·        Canadian thistle arrived here before the revolutionary war and degrades the value of pastures. Several other invasive, exotic thistle species cause similar problems.
·        The Chinese mystery snail, originally an aquarium specimen, is elbowing aside native snail species in urban streams statewide.
·        Various crayfish have displaced native crayfish species in at least 21 Missouri watersheds. Some of these were introduced through interstate bait trade. Others became invasive when introduced into watersheds adjacent to their natural ranges.
·        Sericea lespedeza was introduced into the United States in hopes of improving pastures and providing food for wildlife but turned out to be highly invasive and destructive to native grasslands.
·        Spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, Chinese yam, Japanese knotweed, Johnson grass, purple loosestrife and several other herbaceous plants are displacing native plants, causing agricultural damage and reducing the biological diversity of Missouri’s wildlands.
It can be difficult to get excited about the abstract concept of “biodiversity.” You might wonder why it matters if Missouri has 50 plant species or 50,000. Aren’t they all green?
Diversity is important for two reasons—stability and utility.
First stability. Natural communities with lots of species are stable, because no single factor, such as disease, drought or parasites, can take out many of the components. In contrast, communities with only a handful of species are vulnerable to collapse, because adverse factors that affect a handful of species can eliminate a large portion of the remaining plants or animals. Such collapses can affect things people depend on, including food and wood products. Even more vulnerable are fish and wildlife, which are at the heart of outdoor traditions that have shaped and continue to sustain the American character.
Then there is utility. What use are diverse natural communities? Think of Missouri’s thousands of plant and animal species as items in a huge toolbox for dealing with future problems, such as how to feed ourselves or treat diseases. You don’t know which tools are useful until you need them. Plants and animals that seem unimportant sometimes turn out to have traits—such as drought tolerance or medicinal value—that would be tragic to lose. Cancer drugs, drought-resistant crops and industrial chemicals are among the benefits we already have derived from nature. Do we want to have invasive species randomly tossing tools out of our toolbox?
Changes caused by invasive species can even affect cherished cultural traditions. Take hunting. How would the loss of acorn-producing oak trees due to a gypsy moth infestation affect deer and turkey numbers? Or fishing. No one knows yet how Asian carp or zebra mussels will alter the food chains of infested lakes and streams. How will those changes affect sport fish, such as bass, catfish and crappie, or commercial fishing on Missouri’s big rivers? Clearly, everyone has a stake in keeping invasive species out of Missouri.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has information about invasive species prevention and control at Once at this site, search “invasive species.”
-Jim Low-

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nature Center at Night…Scat!

Deutsch: Bill Emerson Bruecke ueber den Missis...
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Winter is a great time to find out what kind of wildlife lives in your neighborhood.  With the mild weather we are experiencing this February, there’s no better time to get outside and study the tracks and scat left behind by this wildlife to see just who is sharing your backyard. 

Learn about scat identification by visiting the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center this Thursday night, February 9 from 5-8 p.m.  You’re sure to find out more than you ever wanted to know about animal droppings!

All ages.  Youth and adult groups welcome.  No registration required.  Call 573-290-5218 for more information.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Discover nature through MDC 75th anniversary photo contest

Minox M.D.C 35mm camera
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JEFFERSON CITY Mo -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites photographers around the state to enter its 75th Anniversary Photo Contest. The contest is an effort to help Missourians discover nature by capturing and sharing photos that celebrate the natural wonders of Missouri. Winners will be featured in the October issue of the Missouri Conservationist, as well as on the MDC website and in other media.

The photo contest has seven categories: mammals, plants, reptiles and amphibians, insects and spiders, birds, outdoor recreation, and habitats and landscapes. Entries will be accepted through May 15. Photographers must tag their photos with the exact name of the category they are entering.

A panel of photography and nature experts will select the best entry in each category. Category winners will then be posted on the MDC website starting July 1 for the public can vote for their favorite photo from category winners. The photo with the most votes will be named “Best of Show.” All seven winners will be displayed in the October magazine and other MDC media.

More information and examples of category photos are featured in the February issue of the Missouri Conservationist or online A full list of rules and guidelines can be found on the MDC website at Entries will only be accepted via Flickr, an Internet photo sharing service. To join Flickr,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Porous-soled waders banned in Missouri trout waters

Didymo or rock snot (Didymosphenia geminata) i...
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New MDC regulation takes effect March 1 to help keep Missouri a great place to fish.

JEFFERSON CITY Mo – With catch-and-keep trout season opening March 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds trout anglers to help prevent the spread of a new threat to Missouri’s cold-water streams and rivers. Called “didymo” (Didymosphenia geminata) or “rock snot,” this invasive alga forms large, thick mats on the bottoms of cold-water streams and rivers, reducing the quality and quantity of food vital to fish such as troutDidymo also clogs water intakes and boat motors. It interferes with fishing gear and eventually makes fishing nearly impossible, with devastating economic and environmental consequences. While it has not been found in Missouri, rock snot has been found just south of the Missouri-Arkansas border in the White River.

According to MDC Fisheries Biologist Mark VanPatten, recreational equipment such as boats, lifejackets and fishing gear, particularly porous-soled waders, are the most likely ways for didymo to spread into Missouri. 

“Porous-soled waders and wading boots, worn by many trout anglers, appear to be a likely pathway for the spread of didymo,” VanPatten explains. “The soles hold moisture for days and can harbor cells of this alga. Individual cells cannot be seen with the naked eye and only a single cell is needed to establish a stream-killing colony. Anglers who visit waters with didymo can, unknowingly, transfer these cells to the next stream they visit.”

The Missouri Conservation Commission approved a regulation change in August 2011 that bans the use of porous-soled waders or footwear incorporating or having attached a porous sole of felted, matted, or woven fibrous material when fishing in trout parks and other specific trout waters. The new regulation will go into effect March 1.

“Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish so preventing the spread of this invasive species into Missouri is critical,” VanPatten warns. “There is no way to control or eradicate didymo once it gets established in the state.”

Didymo is kept in check naturally in other parts of the country and world by lower pH, or acidity, levels in the water. Missouri’s wealth of limestone creates higher pH levels in Show-Me waters. These higher pH levels can allow didymo to spread unchecked. 

To help reduce the spread of didymo, MDC encourages anglers to remember: Check, then Clean or Dry.

·        Check all gear and equipment and remove any visible algae. Dispose of algae by placing it in the trash, not by putting it down a drain or into bodies of water.

·        Then Clean all gear and equipment with a solution of 2-percent bleach, 5-percent saltwater, or dishwashing detergent. Allow all equipment to stay in contact with the solution for at least three minutes. Soak all soft items, such as felt-soled waders and wader boot cuffs, neoprene waders and life jackets, in the solution for at least 20 minutes.

·        Or then Dry all gear and equipment for at least 48 hours by exposing it to sunlight.

To help anglers clean their waders before entering Missouri trout streams, MDC has installed wader wash stations at Missouri’s five cold-water trout hatcheries: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Salem, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Maramec Spring Park near St. James and Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery by the upper portion of Lake Taneycomo near Branson.

All anglers are encouraged to replace their porous-soled waders with ones that have non-porous rubber or synthetic soles.

Anglers can adapt felt-soled and other porous-soled waders to comply with the new regulation by sealing the soles with solutions of contact cement or marine rubber cement. VanPatten notes the cement may need to be reapplied after each use. MDC offers an instructional video for sealing waders at

“Adapting waders is not a cure,” VanPatten cautions. “It is just one step in prevention. It is still vital to check and clean or dry all waders and all other gear that have had contact with the water.”

For more information, visit and search “didymo.”