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The Risk Paid Off - Missouri Natural Resources Conference a Big Success
Midwest Region, February 5, 2010
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Joanne Grady, Branch Chief - Fish Conservation, served the Missouri chapter of the American Fisheries Society as the Workshops Chair for the annual Missouri Natural Resources Conference.

Joanne worked with Andrew Branson and Doug Novinger of the Missouri Department of Conservation to develop the workshops agenda for this event. The theme of this year's event was "Purposeful Risk Taking: Making Decisions in Dynamic Times".  The planning committee felt it was apropos in light of numerous funding cuts, retirements, and staff and program cuts throughout many of the natural resources agencies and organizations in the current economic crisis. In fact, there was some concern that for the first time in the conference's history we would be paying a penalty fee to the hotel due to an expected drop in attendance caused by current economic conditions.

But this was not the case! In fact, the 2010 conference boasted the second highest attendance level in recent years. The workshops committee was credited in the post-conference meeting with helping to create this success with a great selection of conference sessions. We had been tasked with the goal of diversifying the speakers and topics at this year's event in an effort to increase attendance. 

I am happy and proud to say that Region 3 staff came through to help us meet this challenge! Mike Hoff from Region 3 Fisheries spoke about Risk Assessments in a session about Invasive Species. Charlie Scott of the Columbia Missouri Field Office represented the Service on a panel of agency leaders to discuss resource challenges in Missouri. Dave Mosby of CMFO organized and moderated a session about the impacts of lead in the Big River watershed. Andy Roberts and John Weber were amongst the speakers. Rick Hansen of CMFO and I developed a session about fish passage impacts and the Niangua darter. This session highlighted low water crossings we've helped to replace and data showing the darters are moving past these sites!

A session about identifying and conserving aquatic natural areas included a presentation by Ken Lubinksi of USGS, coordinator of the Fishers and Farmers Partnership. This session will be vital to our ongoing discussions about National Fish Habitat, SHC and LCCs and where we prioritize aquatics spending in this state.

 This annual meeting is organized and sponsored by MOAFS, the Missouri Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and the Show-Me Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. The responsibility for hosting the meeting rotates through the four societies. The event includes nationally recognized plenary speakers, scientific papers, educational workshops, professional society annual meetings, social gatherings, an awards evening, and an exhibits hall.

 

Contact Info: Joanne Grady, 573-234-2132 x101, joanne_grady@fws.gov



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