Federal data is complete from 1998-2017. State and local data is complete from 1998-2011. In the tables and charts below, acres are allocated to each program proportionate to the size of the contributions to each acquisition. For example, if an acquisition had two contributions, and each program contributed equal dollar amounts, each program receives 50% of the acres. If you have questions or want to provide updated information, please contact Jessica Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Profile of State Program(s)
Missouri Conservation Commission Fund: The Conservation Commission Fund is administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is comprised of funds generated through a permanent conservation sales tax of 1/8th of one cent. Voters approved this constitutionally dedicated funding in 1976. Funds support for the control, management, restoration, conservation and regulation of bird, fish, game, forestry and wildlife resources of the state, including land acquisition for these purposes. The tax generates more than $100 million each year in funding for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources: The Missouri Division of State Parks, within the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) historically had a land acquisition budget that was funded through appropriations from the state. Currently, 50 percent of the constitutionally created parks, soils and water sales tax is dedicated to the Division. This levy of 1/10th of 1 percent provides 75 percent of the Division’s budget for operation and development of state parks. The remainder comes mostly from earned fees for services and federal funds. The park sales tax was first approved by voters in 1984 and has since been reauthorized four times in 1988, 1996, 2006, and 2016. Additionally, the State Parks Earnings Fund has been used by the Division for state park acquisitions.
Missouri Stream Stewardship Fund: Established in 2000, the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund (SSTF) is a voluntary in-lieu-fee mitigation program. Developers in Missouri who cannot mitigate damages on site, with U.S. Army Corps permission, may mitigate through an approved mitigation bank or pay into the SSTF in order to meet requirements of the Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act. The SSTF is funded by these payments, with all funds (except for small administrative fees) funneled into land acquisition and stream improvement projects. The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) administers the Fund and accepts all mitigation responsibility by funding stream improvement projects that will implement a 30-year conservation agreement or establish a permanent conservation easement donated to or purchased by a conservation owner.
Most of the easements are held by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Stream improvement projects may be on public lands not owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), or on private lands. Between 2002 and 2012, $7.9 million in SSTF money has been used to fund 28 permanent conservation projects. This list of projects includes 17 permanent conservation easements and 11 fee properties, which used $6.3 million and $1.6 million in SSTF funding, respectively. Comprehensive data by year and by parcel were unavailable for this program.
Substantial State Investment
Two separate sales tax provide funding for conservation and parks.
In 1976, Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment that permanently dedicated a one-eighth of one-cent Conservation Sales Tax. The tax generates over $100 million each year and accounts for more than half of the state Department of Conservation budget. The Department of Conservation, which is overseen by an independent Conservation Commission, uses the funding for the control, management, restoration, conservation and regulation of bird, fish, game, forestry and wildlife resources, including land acquisition for these purposes. In 1999, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the conservation sales tax may only be used for conservation and cannot be a part of state general revenues.
In 1984, voters approved a separate Soil and Water Conservation tax in 1984. This one-tenth of one percent sales tax provides funding for state parks and historic sites, as well as soil and water conservation efforts. Funding is split evenly between these two purposes and is managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Missouri voters approved an extension of the tax in 1988, 1996, 2006, and 2016 – each time with more than two-thirds support. This sales tax is not used to acquire land for conservation, and is the primary source of funding for operation and development of the state park system.
In recent years, the state of Missouri has used legal settlement funding from mining companies to expand the state park system. Fees from state park camping permits also support expansion.
Local Financing Enabled
Counties and municipalities in Missouri have the uniform authority to levy a sales tax or bond. Some or all of the funds may be used for acquisition of parks and open space. Since 1994, the majority of municipal and county conservation ballot measures that have passed in Missouri are local sales tax measures. In 2000, the residents of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County approved Proposition C, creating the Great Rivers Greenway District and a sales tax of 1/10th of one cent. The district received an average of $10 million annually. In April 2013, voters in St. Louis County and St. Louis City approved a tax rate increase to 3/16th of one cent (Proposition P), which is expected to generate $9.4 million annually for the GRG. Voters in St. Charles county did not approve the increase, therefore will not benefit from the additional revenues.
Local Programs Included
Local conservation programs include:
- Great Rivers Greenway District – includes St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, MO
The Great Rivers Greenway District (GRG) was created when residents of St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County approved Proposition C in 2000. This created a one-tenth of one-cent sales tax in the area, which provided GRG with an annual budget of $10 million. In 2013, voters in St. Louis City and St. Louis County approved Proposition P, which created a three-sixteenth of one-cent sales tax to increase the budget of GRG by $9.4 million per year; most of these funds will be used for operations, maintenance and park development projects. Since its inception in 2000, GRG has preserved more than 1,400 acres of green space and developed more than 100 miles of greenway trails in the St. Louis region, and is currently working to create a 600-mile web of greenways, parks, and trails known as the River Ring.
Visit www.landvote.org for detailed information on these programs.
Federal agencies and programs that have conserved land in Missouri include:
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Section 6 Grant
- U.S. Forest Service
- U.S. Forest Service – Forest Legacy Program (FLP)
- U.S. National Park Service
- U.S. National Park Service – LWCF Stateside
- U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
- U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
- U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service – Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)