January 30, 2012—In late December, the purchase of a 300-acre tract in the La Barque Creek Watershed was made possible using the balance of funds from a $2 million donation from Mrs. Pat Jones. This purchase will add about 1.6 miles of stream channel to the existing high aquatic, landform and terrestrial biodiversity of the area. Just 30 minutes from St. Louis, in Jefferson County, lies a terrain of sandstone canyons, gorgeous waterfalls, rich plant life, and a stream harboring more than 40 species of fish. Many conservation partners and landowners have come together to assure long-term protection and public use of this area.
One of the most active partners has been the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, which, since 2004, has provided over $2.7 million to purchase land in the watershed for public enjoyment and natural resource protection. Two million dollars of this total was part of a gift donated to the Foundation in 2010 from conservation supporter Mrs. Pat Jones.
“The addition of this critically-important tract is a crowning achievement for the ten-year LaBarque Creek Watershed conservation effort,” said Fisheries Management Biologist Kevin Meneau. “Not only does the tract bridge two large, previously unconnected MDC properties, but it also adjoins a future Missouri state park creating a large block of tremendously diverse and valuable public land to be conserved for all Missourians. Special thanks go out to MCHF and Pat Jones for making this important acquisition happen!”
In 2011, the Foundation also provided more than $225,000 to fund more than 30 projects across the state. A few of these projects include $90,000 in partnership grants such as Missouri Girls Exploring Nature, Protecting Missouri’s Migrant Birds in Guatamala Conservation Area, Trail and Picnic Shelter for Boy Scouts, trail restoration at Painted Rock Conservation Area in Osage County and Missouri’s Elk Restoration Program. $135,000 in other projects include Tree Planting for Joplin Missouri, relocating a fishing dock on Lake Jacomo, and Flippen Cave Gate habitat protection for gray bats. Stream Stewardship Trust Funds accounted for approximately $466,000 including projects in Phelps, Dent, Dallas, Howell and Cape Girardeau Counties. For details on many other projects receiving Foundation funding in 2011, visit www.mochf.org/projects.
At the Foundation’s December board meeting outgoing president Dave Murphy of Columbia thanked all board members for their service during 2011, and gave special thanks to outgoing members Chris Nattinger and Andy Dalton. The board elected Dave Reynolds president for 2012, and elected one new board members Jim Carson of Springfield. He will be welcomed at the first Foundation board meeting of 2012, to be held February 24 at Lake Ozark.
In 2011, then President Murphy predicted the Foundation to achieve ambitious goals during 2011. “In addition to continuing our popular Conservation Partnership Grants, we intend to select one or more special, larger projects that will help the Department of Conservation better achieve its goals for the year. We’ll build our fundraising efforts around these special projects.” A fundraising project for a fishing/viewing platform at Bennett Spring kicked off mid-year and the $45,000 target is getting close. MCHF will begin fundraising for additional projects during 2012.
Since 1997, the Foundation has invested more than $13 million to protect lands, waters, and wildlife that Missourians value, as well as to increase opportunities for all Missourians to appreciate and enjoy these resources.
The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization that funds projects that immediately address conservation and outdoor recreation needs. It works with the Missouri Department of Conservation and dozens of other conservation groups statewide. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation visit www.mochf.org or call 1-800-227-1488.