Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Solutions…. (MDC)

This could be ended in a few weeks  if the MDC would just meet with this landowner!

Analysis of this floating junk will tell you that swimmers in the river downstream should not be in the water.  But there is a way to get this out of the streams

     I walked into Readings Fly Shop over on the other side of the Niangua River the other day and visited with the owner for a short while.  He said one of those Bennett Springs trout fishermen from the city had been in and had expressed disappointed in what I write because my criticisms gave no solutions.  He said I wrote too much in the past.

     I do write much about my experiences as a kid and those I have had over the past fifty years in the outdoors.  But that is because those recollections are what my readers tell me they like best, and down in the nearby gift shop at Bennett Springs State Park, I sell a good number of my books because I write those stories from my past and my experiences.  I write no criticism of the Department of Conservation which I cannot back up with solid facts, and I write about solutions to those problems constantly.

     So let me present here, some feasible solutions, and you tell me, why are these proposals beyond the realm of possibility.  These are all things I talked about when I had a four-hour meeting with the MDC director at my place on Panther Creek a year and a half ago.
     Mrs. Pauley agreed that the Department and I should work together on all three proposals. After all, I have a wildlife biology and management degree from M.U. too.  The main difference is, most of the MDC biologists hired in the last few years grew up in suburbs, while I grew up on the river in the heart of the Ozarks. I was running around with old-time biologists for the Conservation Commission before these modern biologists were born, writing about them and what they were doing and learning from them.

     I would like to sit down with some of today’s biologists and MDC decision makers and discuss solutions I have seen work, solutions they have never even thought of. Since then I have heard nothing from Mrs. Pauley. Our handshake agreement apparently didn’t mean much.

     The first solution I proposed to her is in regards to the constant degradation and filling of our Ozark Rivers.  I have talked with landowners who have large numbers of their cattle watering in some of the best of our streams, and none of them resist the idea of fencing cattle out of the river, drilling wells to water them away from the river and planting the ground between the fence and stream, in trees or erosion-controlling grasses and shrubs.

     If anyone thinks this will not work, come meet with me and we will talk to a neighbor of mine, Jim Hacker, who has done this very thing on a couple of miles of the Pomme de Terre river.  Jim promotes this kind of river protection and he can show anyone how it will work to make things better for river bottom protection.  Most of what he did was paid for by the Federal Soil Conservation Service, who reimbursed him AFTER JIM HAD IT DONE AND PAID FOR.
     That’s the problem for most of the men I have talked to. “Sure”, they say, “but Jim had the money up front and I don’t.  If I could make an agreement to get most of my investment back, I’d do it in a minute.”

     That’s where I, working with the Department of Conservation, could in only one year change the fate of many of our best rivers. If the MDC, with their millions of dollars (which I feel is often wasted), would put up just a few million we could do what Jim Hacker has done with other rivers, the Niangua, Gasconade, Big Piney and others.  We could stop the erosion of our Ozark streams, much of the pollution, almost overnight in dozens and dozens of critical places.  Then the MDC could recover what is spent through payments the Soil Conservation Service returns to the landowner.

     Tell me why the MDC won’t even discuss it?  Couldn’t it at least be considered?  I offer my time working with cooperating river-bottomland owners free of charge.

     This column, offering a solution that reader calls for, has to go before the public through various news media, who often will not use this column for fear the MDC doesn’t like it.  But until I die, I will keep putting it out there.  This is not criticism of the MDC, it is a solution offered for a tremendously severe problem.  As to the few million needed to accomplish this, they operate each year on a budget of almost 200 million dollars, and millions of that is given away, or wasted on projects that go nowhere.

     In my winter magazine I will publish a story about working with a very good MDC biologist who is in charge of bringing back small game on 30 thousand acres of public land in the center of this state. I am doing this because I promised Mrs. Pauley I would, during our meeting.  And when I give my word, I keep it!!  Don’t miss that article about his work if you want to see more solutions offered.
     That St. Louis man will never see it! But somehow the news media…television and small and large newspapers have to get in on this attempt to accomplish some positive things.  If there is some things wrong with the MDC’s management of our public lands, if there are things they can easily do which helps fish and wildlife and wild places, we need to push it and get it done before it is too late.

     Solutions!  Yes, I have them, and in some future columns, I will tell you how the millions spent on trying to bring back a vestige of quail hunting has failed miserably.  But is there a way that thousands of quail hunters can hunt coveys again like I saw it in the 50’s and 60’s?  YES-- and I know how it can be done if the MDC will meet and discuss it and use some of those millions to make it come to pass.  Before you laugh read this column next week, for another fail-proof SOLUTION.  If anyone out there wants to see good things happen in the outdoors for a change, contact me and help us.  Just call me at 417-777-5227.  We need leaders.

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