Missouri Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Utilizing wildlife information gathered over the past 30 years, Missouri’s Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy promotes management that benefits all wildlife, rather than targeting single species. The strategy identifies 33 “Conservation Opportunity Areas” in which management strategies will conserve both wildlife populations and the natural systems on which they depend. For each Conservation Opportunity Area, a team of partners developed a common vision of issues and actions.

The Department of Conservation, other public agencies, private conservation organizations and citizen conservationists can use the framework of Conservation Opportunity Areas to focus their efforts for species of conservation concern and their habitats.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in Missouri

Invasive exotic plants and animals, development and urbanization, fire suppression, and diminishing water quality are all statewide threats. Woodlands are one of Missouri’s most threatened natural communities; not because the state is losing tree structure but because of a lack of ground fires. Though Missouri presently adds a million acres of trees every decade, today’s woodlands differ in species composition and structure from those shaped by fire, and thus support different wildlife species. The Thousand Hills Woodland Conservation Opportunity Area is one location where we hope to increase prescribed fire management on public and private lands.

Working Together for Missouri’s Wildlife

The Missouri Department of Conservation worked with selected conservation partners to develop criteria for evaluating and identifying priority conservation opportunities. Then, a broad coalition of conservation partners participated in a conservation landscapes meeting to identify and select Conservation Opportunity Areas. Participants from many agencies and organizations volunteered to be team leaders for Conservation Opportunity Areas, hosting the first stakeholder meetings and collecting information needed to profile each area. Other participating partners identified the Conservation Opportunity Area meetings to which they would like to be invited. This was an effective way to build the initial stakeholder teams. As team leaders planned their meetings, they were challenged to invite additional stakeholders, especially local individuals and communities that were not present at the statewide meeting.

During the meeting process, the Missouri Department of Conservation provided access to spatial data layers and facilitators, provided guidance on how to conduct the meetings, and identified specific information needed for area profiles. The Department facilitated 37 stakeholder meetings across the state.

The Department took the results of the stakeholder meetings and prepared draft Conservation Opportunity Area profiles, which participants could review and comment on. The final profiles are collected in the publication, “Conserving All Wildlife in Missouri: A Directory of Conservation Opportunity.”


The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies represents all of North America’s fish and wildlife agencies, promotes sound management and conservation, and speaks with a unified voice on important fish and wildlife issues.

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