Natural Resource Strategy Planned

Article excerpt

For the first time in Missouri history, state and federal agencies are developing a comprehensive strategy for stewardship of Missouri's natural resources. Called Coordinated Resource Management (CRM), this planning process allows for long-term management, protection and restoration of Missouri's natural resources through cooperation between public and private interests.

Public agencies involved in the CRM process include the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service, the Soil Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service.

"The diversity of Missouri's plants and animals plays an important role in sustaining our natural environment and in providing good living conditions," says Russ Titus, CAM coordinator for MDC. "We want to make sure our natural heritage is protected for future generations."

Missouri comprises a variety of natural landscapes - from prairies and forests to wetlands and glades. According to Titus, CRM allows for land to be managed according to its ability to sustain different vegetation and animal life, instead of the traditional one-size-fits-all management approach.

Teams of natural resource professionals have divided Missouri into 10 sections based on climate, soils, watershed and other natural features. A 50-year management plan will be written for each section. Each plan will take into account the social, economic, historical and present conditions of the land.

MDC is spearheading the effort to develop and write the plans, all of which are expected to be completed by the year 2000. CRM also will emphasize creating and maintaining outdoor recreation opportunities and producing commodities, such as timber.

Participation in CRM among agencies and individuals is strictly voluntary, emphasizes Titus. With 93 percent of Missouri's land privately owned, however, individual landowners will play a significant role in CRM's mission to restore and protect Missouri's plants and animals. "Obtaining informed consent from Missouri's citizenry is critical to the success of CRM," says Titus. "We will work to gain information on the expectations and opinions of Missourians and inform the public about CRM."

Methods to inform and receive feedback from the public about CAM include surveys, workshops and a series of public meetings. The first round of public meetings - planned for September - will focus primarily on the Lower Ozarks Section. This CAM section consists of Butler, Shannon, St. Francois, Iron, Carter, Madison, Howell, Reynolds, Oregon, Wayne and Ripley counties.

The meeting schedule is as follows: Sept. …