Missouri Department of Conservation

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Cara Smith didn't move to Parkville, Missouri, for the Missouri River.

But that's why she stayed.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

It's that time of year. Flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and the sweet scent of honeysuckle wafts in the warm summer air.

Honeysuckle’s fragrance however, may be the only sweet thing about it. According to conservationists in Kansas and Missouri, Asian Bush Honeysuckle is the most visible and environmentally destabilizing invasive species in the metro area.

Larry Rizzo, a natural history biologist at the Missouri Department of Conservation, says that there is a difference between invasive and exotic species, and the two are not necessarily exclusive. 

On this Earth Day, we speak with two conservationists about local and nationwide efforts to protect the planet. We talk about how preserving our air, water and land can be good for business, and the challenges of passing environmental legislation in the United States. 

Guests: 

David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation has long been the envy of the nation, as far as conservation departments go.

Since the mid-1970s, it has been solely funded by a ⅛ cent conservation sales tax. Because it does not receive any general revenue from the government, it naturally operates without much oversight.

Until now, the model hasn’t presented much of a problem. In fact, Missouri's has been touted as one of the best conservation departments in the country.

But one Missouri representative thinks the current model is flawed. Rep. Craig Redmon, the Republican Chair of the Conservation Appropriation Committee, thinks the current funding mechanism is vulnerable.

Redmon wrote a bill calling for the repeal of the ⅛ cent conservation sales tax — a bill he doesn't actually support.

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Even though Kansas City is a landlocked city, there are a lot of great fishing spots, including the Missouri River and a large amount of area lakes, ponds and small rivers. The Missouri Department of Conservation and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, even stock Kansas City area park lakes with fish throughout the year to promote close-to-home fishing. 

Here’s some information to help aspiring urban anglers get started.

Wikipedia Commons

It’s that time of year when turtles become easy targets on Missouri and Kansas highways.

Turns out that male box turtles don’t know any better. They’re just out looking for mates, and that journey has them crossing busy highways where too often they become road kill.

In the final portion of Tuesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with a biologist from the Missouri Department of Conservation about those all too vulnerable turtles.

Guest:

Conservation officials in Missouri want deer hunters to take precautions this fall in order to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

More than 100 elk are now living in southeast Missouri after efforts to restore the species to the state.
David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

Missouri conservation officials say they are pleased with the way a three-year effort to restore elk to the southeastern part of the state is going.

The last group of elk arrived at the Peck Ranch conservation area this spring, bringing the total to around 100 animals.

Department of Conservation resource scientist Lonnie Hansen says the state will start controlling the population when it reaches about 400 elk.

Until then, the focus is on keeping the animals healthy.

More than 100 elk are now living in southeast Missouri after efforts to restore the species to the state.
David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

Efforts to reestablish an elk population in southeastern Missouri are now in their third year, and the Missouri Department of Conservation considers the project a success.

There are close to 70 elk now living in parts of Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties, with another 50 arriving in May.

A number of calves have been born at Peck Ranch, including this 2011 newborn.

Drought Helps Bobwhites And Other Birds

Oct 29, 2012
wikimedia commons

While this summer’s drought and heat wave ravaged crops in Missouri, it actually benefitted some of the bird species within the state, especially bobwhite quail.

David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

Recent rain showers across Missouri may salvage the state’s fall foliage, according to state conservation officials.

A Late Night Frog Gig

Aug 26, 2012
Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

In Missouri, the bullfrog and green frog harvest season starts on the night of June 30th and last through the end of October. 

Missouri Dept. of Public Safety

You'll be hard-pressed to find someone who wouldn't welcome a rain shower after weeks of heat and drought in the region.

Endangered Beetles Hit the Dirt

Jun 27, 2012
Bill Graham / Missouri Department of Conservation

For the first time ever, an endangered species has been released back into Missouri prairies. The American Burying Beetle may be back on its way to thriving, though in this beetle's world, thriving means living underground and feasting on meatballs. 

Firewood Could Spread Invasive Beetle

May 29, 2012
USDA / flickr

Conservation agents are urging Missourians to not transport firewood.  It’s part of an effort to control the emerald ash borer from spreading throughout the state.