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Cooperation with State Partners and Landowners Moves Conservation Forward for the Grotto Sculpin
Midwest Region, September 28, 2012
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Trash-laden sinkhole before cleanout
Trash-laden sinkhole before cleanout - Photo Credit: Brad Pobst, Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Same sinkhole after a successful cleanout
Same sinkhole after a successful cleanout - Photo Credit: Brad Pobst, Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Funding was provided to the owner of Mystery Spring to construct cattle-exclusion fencing and develop an alternative water source.
Funding was provided to the owner of Mystery Spring to construct cattle-exclusion fencing and develop an alternative water source. - Photo Credit: Jason Crites, Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Over the past two years, the Columbia Missouri Field Office has provided funds to the Missouri Department of Conservation through cooperative agreements focused on conservation of the grotto sculpin on private land in Perry County. These agreements were fulfilled in 2012 and resulted in a number of actions that benefited the grotto sculpin and its habitat.

 

Sinkhole Cleanouts
Three sinkholes in the range of the grotto sculpin have been cleared of trash and debris that included household items, appliances, tires and insulation. Cumulatively, approximately 166 tons of garbage was removed.

Access Agreements
Four 10-year access agreements have been developed with private landowners that will facilitate research and monitoring at Mystery Cave, Rimstone River Cave and Running Bull Cave.

Cave Surveys and Dye Tracing
Dye traces were initiated or updated to delineate recharge areas for the Moore Cave System, Ball Mill Spring, Keyhole Spring and the Shaffer Tract, which is owned by the LAD Foundation. Additionally, eight caves were surveyed for the presence of the grotto sculpin or suitable habitat.

Fencing and Water Sources
Funds have been provided to the owner of the entrance of Mystery Cave to exclude livestock from the entrance and construct exclusion fences around sinkholes that are connected to the cave system. Fencing and native warm-season grass plantings will reduce nutrient runoff and control erosion in the sinkholes. Funds also were provided to construct exclusion fencing around Mystery Spring and establish an alternative water source to provide water for livestock that were excluded from the spring.

Landowner Workshop
The Missouri Department of Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Perry County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored a landowner tour in 2011. This tour demonstrated the use of cover crops around sinkholes, filter strips, wildlife habitat and water quality issues with vertical drains.


Contact Info: Shauna Marquardt, 573-234-2132 x174, shauna_marquardt@fws.gov



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