Tuesday, September 4, 2012

MDC removes statewide fire ban on conservation areas

English: Lands (owned and leased) that were ma...

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has lifted its statewide fire ban on all conservation areas effective immediately. According to MDC, the remnants of tropical storm Isaac are bringing significant rain to most of the state.

“Although we don’t believe we are completely out of danger,” says MDC Forestry Management Chief Mike Hoffmann, “fire danger will be reduced enough through most of the state in the coming week to lift our statewide burn ban. We understand that some parts of the state may not receive a lot of precipitation from this system, but MDC area managers can issue burn bans for individual conservation areas if they believe fire danger is too high.”

Monday, September 3, 2012

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks public input to conserve endangered species in the Midwest while encouraging clean energy

English: Administrative regions of the U.S. Fi...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is leading development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the Midwest that will conserve endangered species, promote development of clean energy which in turn will reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. Partners in the development of this plan are eight Midwestern states, the American Wind Energy Association, representing a consortium of wind energy companies, and The Conservation Fund. The Service is asking the public to help identify issues that are important to them as the plan is developed. The incidental take permit(s) will cover participating wind energy facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

While it is well known that some species of bats are particularly vulnerable to striking turbines at wind energy facilities, the purpose of the plan is to develop conservation measures such as siting of turbines or facilities, minimizing adverse effects from construction and operations, and mitigation of adverse impacts through the development of a strategic mitigation strategy for the long-term conservation of species. The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to “take” – harm, harass or kill -- animals on the Endangered Species List; therefore a permit is needed if take is expected to happen. The proposed plan is required to obtain an incidental take permit(s) for participating wind energy facilities in the Midwest.

The specific lands that will be included in the plan have yet to be determined and could be all or portions of the eight states. Federally endangered species that could potentially be taken by wind energy facilities include the Indiana bat, gray bat, piping plover, interior least tern and Kirtland’s warbler. This plan can also include species that may become endangered or threatened in the future, such as the little brown bat, northern long-eared bat and eastern small-footed bat. The bald eagle, which is no longer endangered but remains protected, may also be covered by the plan. The final list of species to be included has yet to be determined.

This effort began in 2009 when the eight Midwestern states applied for and received a grant to develop the plan. In the grant application, the states envisioned that the plan would be developed as an umbrella plan and the Service would issue individual incidental take permits to applicants that agree to implement the measures outlined in the plan. There are additional permitting structures being considered, including a master permit holder approach.

The Service is requesting information and comment concerning the planning process, permitting approach, the interaction of wind facilities and species, scientific data that may help inform the plan or monitoring of impacts, and any other information that interested parties would like to offer. Comments may be mailed to: Regional Director, Attn: Rick Amidon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458; faxed to: 612/713-5292 (Attn: Rick Amidon); or E-mailed to: midwestwindhcp@fws.gov Deadline for receiving comments is October 1.

More information on habitat conservation plans and endangered wildlife can be found at www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered Information about the role that the Service plays in wind energy development and the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife can be found at www.fws.gov/midwest/wind The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Department of Natural Resources awards MU $253,800 for Hinkson Creek project

Jesse Hall and the Francis Quad on the Univers...

For more information: 573-751-1010

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded $253,800 to the University of Missouri – Columbia to implement and study the effectiveness of water pollution prevention practices on water quality in Hinkson Creek.

Called the MU Hinkson Creek Watershed Assessment of BMPs for Water Quality Improvements and Effectiveness Project, the effort will take place in Columbia on the University of Missouri campus. It will focus on techniques known within the water pollution prevention field as best management practices, or BMPs.

This MU-led project focuses on the Middle Hinkson Creek and Lower Hinkson Creek where MU’s campus and the majority Columbia, are located. The MU Hinkson Creek Watershed Assessment of BMPs for Water Quality Improvements and Effectiveness Project in these watersheds will monitor the performance of best management practices with respect to volume reduction and associated water quality improvements. Using various practices will allow MU staff to monitor the water balance of each practice and selected water quality parameters to educate students, partners, engineers and contractors on the design, maintenance and performance of these practices.

The curators of the University of Missouri will provide a match contribution of $169,267 over the life of the project bringing the total cost of the project to $423,067. The project is expected to be completed by March 31, 2014.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The Department of Natural Resources’ Water Protection Program will administer the grant funds. The department is committed to working closely with communities and businesses to assist with funding efforts that improve water quality in Missouri. For more information, contact the Water Protection Program at P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102 or call 800-361-4827 or 573-751-1300.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Missouri State Parks hosts informational meeting Sept. 11 at Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site

English: Photo of Bothwell Lodge from the vall...
English: Photo of Bothwell Lodge from the valley below. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The public is invited to bring their ideas to an informational meeting Tuesday, Sept. 11 at Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site near Sedalia. Sponsored by Missouri State Parks, the meeting will begin at 7 p.m. outdoors on the lodge breezeway.
Representatives from Missouri State Parks will provide information on future plans for the facility and answer questions. Visitors are invited to share comments and suggestions about the site’s services and operations.
The informational meeting is part of an ongoing effort by Missouri State Parks to ensure the public has input on services and facilities in state parks and historic sites.
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site is located seven miles north of Sedalia, off Highway 65 on Bothwell State Park Road in Pettis County. People requiring special services or accommodations to attend the meeting can make arrangements by calling the facility directly at 660-827-0510. For more information on Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.