Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Public Education Division
P.O. Box 180
Jefferson City, MO 65102
(Cave Life in Missouri)
Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources
State Parks Information Officer
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102
(Cave Parks and Naturalist Resources)
Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources
Division of Geology & Land Survey
P.O. Box 250
Rolla, MO 65401
(Geology & Water Resources Information)
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965
(Caves & Springs of the ONSR)
National Park Service:
Jurisdiction: All national parks and monuments, as well as some other land purchased or managed by the Department of the Interior, not under the control of the Bureau of Land Management (there is no BLM land in Missouri).
Local Jurisdiction: Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Wilson's Creek Battlefield National Park, George Washington Carver National Monument, White Haven (U.S. Grant residence) and The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (the Arch.)
Mission: To preserve, protect and interpret outstanding examples of natural, historic and cultural features. Preserve and protect rank much higher in NPS goals than to provide access to all parts of the park at all times to all people. NPS is interested in scientific work which will further its mission; the focus is to maintain a world class experience for the greatest number of average tourists in its interpretation, consistent with stewardship of the land.
U.S. Forest Service:
Jurisdiction: National Forests and Grasslands
Local Jurisdiction: Mark Twain National Forest, in segments scattered throughout the state, primarily the Ozarks.
Mission: National Forests were established as resource management areas, to ensure sources of timber, minerals, and water for days to come. Missouri National Forests are largely second or third growth, replanted after timber companies raped the Ozarks in the early 20th century, then left. National Forests have always been multi-use areas, generating income from timber, mining, and recreation, in varying proportions. It is very hard being all things to all people, from huge corporations to Earth First!ers--the Forest Service, by its mission, must maintain a middle of the road stance. Try being the guy in the middle between tree huggers and the guy with the D-9 CAT and chainsaw sometime.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (St. Louis District):
U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service:
Jurisdiction: Manages fish, birds, and wildlife who cross state or national boundaries in their natural migrations, especially non-game and endangered species, as well as federally listed species residing only in one state.
Local Jurisdiction: Mingo National Wildlife Refuge and other national wildlife refuges along the Mississippi Flyway. These people are ultimately responsible for federally endangered bats, cavefish, and other critters, although, since they are greatly underfunded, much of that work is actually done by the Missouri Department of Conservation, under contract.
Mission: Enforce federal laws pertaining to migratory and endangered species. Research and implement management plans for these plants and animals. Manage locations (often by prohibiting access) to places where these species occur. Provide public education to help in their mission of species preservation by getting public cooperation, and prosecution where necessary.
Missouri Department of Conservation
Local Jurisdiction: Anywhere in the state with plants and animals, but landowner rights are maintained on private land unless a violation of the Wildlife Code or some other regulation is found or reported. MDC maintains State Forests, Wildlife Refuges, River Accesses, and other public lands for habitat, recreational, educational and research purposes.
Mission: MDC has legal responsibility for wild plants and animals in the state, and to a secondary degree, habitat management to ensure that they have a place to live. Some of this occurs on land managed by them, such as state forests, and some on private land, where the landowner and the MDC cooperate to encourage plants, animals and habitat. MDC is in charge of both game and non-game species, and, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, endangered and migratory species as well. Conservation agents are law enforcement officers as well as educators. Prior to the passage of an 1/8 cent sales tax, most of MDC's emphasis was on hunting, fishing, farming and trapping. Since then, outdoor recreation of all kinds have been incorporated, and the mission of the agency has expanded to include environmental education, urban ecology concerns, and natural history. MDC is primarily a preservation and management agency, with recreation an important, but secondary, concern. MDC has a cave access policy, which groups caves according to their ecological sensitivity and hazards.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Jurisdiction: Missouri, but depends on the division. The Division of Energy (DOE), Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Division of Geology and Land Survey (DGLS), have jurisdictions over the entire state; Division of State Parks (DSP) is responsible for state parks and historic sites.
Local Jurisdiction: DOE has little, if anything to do with caves. DEQ is basically concerned with pollution, its prevention and regulation; groundwater pollution is among its concerns. DGLS is the Land Survey at Rolla. They sell topographic maps and other publications related to geology. DSP controls access to numerous caves, most notably at Meramec, HaHaTonka, Ozark Caverns, Rockbridge and Onondaga Cave State Parks. Other parks have caves, but none to rival these.
Mission: DNR's mission is the preservation and appropriate use of the state's natural resources. DEQ is the place to report hazardous waste spills, and other pollution violations, as well as get information on recycling and environmental issues. DGLS, which includes Water Resources, deals with minerals, dam safety, water rights, scientific geologic survey, topographic survey, and basically any land and water issues. DSP has the usual preserve, interpret and provide reasonable access to visitors mission of a park system. Most caving on park land is locally regulated; see a naturalist at the park for inquiries about any cave.
Missouri Highway and Transportation Department
Jurisdiction: All state and federal highway corridors in the state.
Local Jurisdiction: Interstates, numbered and lettered state highways and adjacent state owned land.
Mission: Build, maintain and administer highways in the state; some jurisdiction on other modes of transportation--railroads and river traffic as regulated by state law or with state funds. Transportation is paramount in their mission. With the addition of Environmental Impact Statements required before state roads are constructed with federal funds, cave must be given consideration in routing; however, it takes a very significant cave to reroute a highway. Engineering considerations usually given priority over conservation issues.
Local City & County Parks