Protect Missouri’s Forests, Fish and Wildlife

NWF   |   January 30, 2012

Geralyn HoeyGeralyn Hoey is a Regional Representative for NWF’s South Central office in Austin, Texas, working with state affiliates and partners in Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Originally from Oklahoma, Geralyn has lived and worked in various parts of the United States focusing on outdoor programming and environmental conservation work. Previously, she was Executive Director of the Cumberland River Compact, a regional watershed organization based in Nashville, Tennessee and has also served on the boards of many non-profit organizations.  

Painted Bunting, Photo by Robert Cameron
Painted buntings depend on grasslands and brushy shrubs for their survival./ Photo by Robert Cameron
Have you ever heard the unique whistle of a northern bobwhite quail? Seen the brilliant blue, green and red plumage of a painted bunting? Or observed the American woodcock performing its unique aerial mating dance?

All of these birds have one thing in common: their dependence on grasslands and brushy shrubs for their survival. Habitat for these birds is not as common as it once was but fortunately for Missourians, the Missouri Conservation Commission is working hard throughout the entire state to reverse the downward population trend of these species by restoring and creating lasting habitat.

For the past 75 years, Missouri’s forests, fish and wildlife have been successfully managed, conserved and restored with the guidance and input of a four person Conservation Commission. The constitutional amendment creating this Commission was approved by a 71% affirmative vote, one of the largest margins by which any amendment to the state constitution has ever passed. And a recent survey indicated that 73% of Missourians believe that the Conservation Commission is doing a good job. The design of the Conservation Commission has been envied by state agencies throughout the country because each commissioner, working together, serves to represent the best interests of forests, fish and wildlife throughout the entire state, instead of focusing on regional or political issues.

Unfortunately, the amendment creating the commission is now being threatened. The proposed legislation would expand the commission to eight individuals and designate a specific region to each Commissioner rather each person representing the entire state. This would immediately inject regional interests and political favoritism into conservation resulting in decisions being made because of political purposes and not for the benefit of Missouri’s forests, fish and wildlife.

Habitat restoration and protection is only one example of the responsibility of the Missouri Conservation Commission and it must remain a statewide focus in order to improve and sustain wildlife populations throughout Missouri. The only way for Missouri to continue its 75 year history of conservation success is by maintaining a tried and true system established so many years ago.

Follow in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt and SPEAK UP! Join with the Conservation Federation of Missouri and National Wildlife Federation to tell the politicians in Missouri that conservation is important to you … and, in fact, to all Missourians.  Tell them to leave the authority of the agency ALONE.  Tell them to stop trying to fix something which is not broken!  Call your Missouri state senator and representative immediately and ask them to keep politics out of conservation!

Take ActionThis proposed legislation is being considered NOW! Contact your Missouri state Senator and Representative today.

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Published: January 30, 2012