The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to know your suggestions for the Schell-Osage Conservation Area in Vernon and St. Clair counties. MDC is in the multi-year process of updating management plans for almost 1,000 conservation areas throughout the state and invites public comments.
MDC invites public comment about the Schell-Osage Conservation Area to aid staff in developing a 10-year management plan for the area. Interested persons or groups are invited to bring their ideas to an open house 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, at the area headquarters, 4662 South 2950 Rd., southeast of Schell City. MDC welcomes input on plans from recreational users, neighboring landowners, conservation groups, elected officials and government agencies.
The public is welcome to share ideas, compliments or improvement suggestions with MDC staff at the open house. Staff will answer questions about management practices at Schell-Osage or about conservation in general. Visitors will be able to fill out comment sheets. More information about the open house is available by calling 417-432-3414.
The public is invited to share ideas online now through Feb. 15 at mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.
Schell-Osage Conservation Area is a premier wetland and upland destination for hunters, birders, hikers, photographers and naturalists. The Osage River flows past the 8,635-acre area’s northern boundary. Schell-Osage has large wetland areas and two large fishing lakes. Atkinson Lake is 461 acres and Schell Lake is 355 acres. The area also has several ponds for fishing. Some upland portions of the area are being restored to native grassland habitat. Five small remnant prairies are part of the grassland management.
Statewide, MDC conservation areas cover almost one million public acres for the purpose of restoring and conserving forest, fish and wildlife resources, and for providing opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy and learn about these resources. Most Missourians are within a 30-minute drive of an MDC conservation area.
Conservation Area Management Plans focus on natural resource management and public use on conservation areas. The plans do not address regulations on hunting, fishing and other area uses, which are set by the Conservation Commission and enforced under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. MDC will consider all ideas received and will work to balance the issues and interests identified with the responsibility of managing areas for the present and future benefits to forest, fish, wildlife and people. Decisions on which ideas to incorporate into area plans and on how to best incorporate them will be based on the property’s purpose, its physical and biological conditions and capabilities, the best roles of the property in its local, regional and statewide context, and on the professional expertise of MDC staff.