Public can comment through Sept. 30 on draft management plan.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is in the multi-year process of updating Conservation Area Management Plans and is seeking public input on how conservation areas are important to Missourians.  A draft management plan for the Department’s LaBelle Lake and Ella Ewing Lake Conservation Areas is available for public review through September 30. To preview this draft management plan and share comments online, visit mdc.mo.gov/areaplans.

Ella Ewing Lake Conservation Area offers a shallow 12-acre lake with 48 acres of surrounding forest, woodland, and old field, including a boat ramp, restroom, and two parking lots in Scotland County. MDC manages Ella Ewing Lake for gamefish, and the surrounding acreage for wildlife.

LaBelle Lake Conservation Area, in Lewis County, includes 222 acres of non-prairie grassland and crop land, a picnic area, pavilion, camping area, parking lots, restrooms, fishing dock, and boat ramp access to the 112-acre LaBelle Lake. MDC manages LaBelle Lake for gamefish, and the surrounding acreage for wildlife and waterfowl.

Statewide, MDC conservation areas cover almost one million public acres for the purpose of restoring and conserving forest, fish and wildlife resources, and for providing opportunities for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about these resources. Most Missourians are within a 30-minute drive of an MDC conservation area.

Conservation Area Management Plans focus on natural resource management and public use on conservation areas. The plans do not address regulations on hunting, fishing, and other area uses, which are set by the Conservation Commission and enforced under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. MDC will consider all ideas received and will work to balance the issues and interests identified with the responsibility of managing areas for the present and future benefits to forest, fish, wildlife, and people. Decisions on which ideas to incorporate into area plans and on how to best incorporate them will be based on the property’s purpose, its physical and biological conditions and capabilities, the best roles of the property in its local, regional, and statewide context, and on the professional expertise of MDC staff.