State Rep. Nate Walker Defends Conservation

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Missouri State Representative Nate Walker of the 3rd District (Kirksville) has published a strong statement in support of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Rep. Walker clearly understands the importance of conservation in Missouri and should be commended for his willingness to stand up for all of us who cherish forest fish and wildlife. Thank you, Representative Walker!



3rd District Legislative Report

By State Representative Nate Walker


Serving the Citizens of Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Mercer Counties.

March 27, 2015

Constituents voice support for Missouri Department of Conservation…  

During my Legislative Spring Break, I was asked several questions from concerned constituents of the 3rd District about legislation that has been introduced that would dismantle the Missouri Department of Conservation. Several legislative proposals have been introduced to eliminate the Department’s primary funding sources from the Conservation Sales Tax and hunting and fishing permit sales; prohibit the Department from working with not-for-profit organizations such as the Conservation Federation of Missouri, which administers the Share the Harvest Program; and limit the Department’s ability to manage forest and wildlife.

We have one of the finest conservation department’s in the world because citizens made it this way. Through two constitutional amendments, supported and passed by citizens, we have created a citizen-led Conservation Commission with the necessary funding that is responsible for managing our state’s forest, fish and wildlife habitats.

The Conservation Sales Tax places no financial burden on the state budget for conservation management activities. Although the Department has one of the smallest annual budgets in the state, less than one percent of the total state budget, the Department provides programs and services that have immediate benefits for all Missourians and helps to guarantee that resources will be available for future generations. The amount of state sales tax revenue generated from fish, forest and wildlife spending is about the same amount of sales tax revenue received by the Department of Conservation from the one-eighth of one percent Conservation Sales Tax.

The results of citizen action and support for conservation are seen in both urban and rural Missouri. We have numerous successful fish and wildlife restoration efforts, nature centers, healthy forests, boat accesses, public shooting ranges and conservation areas that provide endless hours of recreation for citizens. It should be of no surprise that our citizen-led conservation system has helped create thousands of jobs and generate billions in revenue for our state’s economy.

“We have one of the finest conservation 
department’s in the world because 
citizens made it this way.”

Looking at the numbers, hunting, fishing, wildlife recreation and the forest products industry support more than 100,000 Missouri jobs and generates more than $12 billion in economic activity. The City of Kirksville has indicated the largest generation of sales tax revenue occurs the Friday before firearms deer season and Unionville recently proclaimed the title of “Hunting Capitol of Missouri.”

Today, Missouri has 1.1 million anglers, 600,000 hunters and 2.2 million wildlife watchers. Recent surveys also show that Missouri citizens still have a high interest (95 percent) in forest, fish and wildlife.

Several northeast Missouri counties continue to show strong deer and turkey harvests. For example, Macon County is one of the top ten counties for deer harvest each year and in the top 15 for turkey harvested during the spring turkey season.

Missouri leads the nation in hunter recruitment with 116 hunters gained for every 100 lost.

The 2013 Conservation Opinion Survey, conducted by the University of Missouri indicates:

  • 95 percent of Missourians are interested in Missouri’s forest, fish and wildlife.
  • 76 percent say the Department is a name they can trust.
  • 68 percent say the Department is doing a good or excellent job.
  • And 86 percent are familiar with the Department of Conservation.
  • The numbers don’t change from urban to rural Missouri, from southwest Missouri to northeast Missouri.

With over 90 percent of Missouri in private ownership, the health of our natural resources will be determined by private landowners. In recognition of the need to provide enhanced support to landowners, the Department provides resource education and technical assistance to landowners interested in conserving and managing forest, fish and wildlife resources, and develops conservation partnerships with state and federal agencies and private organizations involved in agriculture and wildlife management. The Department provides technical assistance to nearly 30,000 landowners with over 6,200 on-the-farm visits each year, which directly impacts over 330,000 acres.

The Department cares about what citizens have to say. A great example is the recent series of public meetings on proposed deer regulations and steps the Department has taken to provide information to landowners in Macon and Adair counties where chronic wasting disease was discovered.

The Department works tirelessly to expand and grow new partnerships with private landowners, county government, rural fire departments, municipalities and various organizations. Partnerships help stretch funding and resources. Examples include payments to counties through the Department’s In-Lieu-of-Tax Program; county road assistance to help maintain roads leading to conservation areas; cost share to private landowners for habitat work; and providing cost share for urban forest management grants and developing closing-to-home fishing accesses with municipalities.

The Department works hard to ensure citizen input is gathered (i.e., ombudsman, workshops, public meetings, surveys, Commission meetings, regulation process) in an effort to understand and meet their needs and desires. The Conservation Commission, in addition to the General Assembly, serves as a vigilant watchdog of the Commission Fund and contributes a vast amount of experience to manage Department funds responsibly and eliminate waste. In addition, state and federal audits are periodically conducted.

I enjoyed my Legislative Spring Break. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with constituents and get their input attending several events, forums and meetings throughout Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Mercer Counties.

As always, please feel free to contact me at any time should you need my assistance and/or if you have something to share with me. My official e-mail address is:  my legislative office number is (573) 751-3647.

Working together we can make a difference.

Thanks and best wishes.


3rd District State Representative

Missouri House of Representatives

Missouri State Capitol Building ~ Room 405B

Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806

Telephone: (573) 751-3647

COURAGE IN THE ARENA – “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” 
– Theodore Roosevelt

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