Missouri Capitol Building
Missouri Capitol Building The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, MO. © Nagel Photography

Stories in Missouri

External Affairs

A voice for nature

The challenges facing our planet today require solutions that both address our current issues and lay the foundation to effectively and efficiently address tomorrow’s concerns.

Connecting our work with our federal, state, and local leaders is necessary for change. “We already have a wonderful network of established partnerships in private, state, federal, and non-governmental entities. These established relationships are crucial to our success and moving our work forward,” said Holly Neill, The Conservancy’s External Affairs Manager. 

Over the past year, we’ve enjoyed hosting legislators at places like TNC’s Dunn Ranch Prairie and paddling the Current River to provide opportunities to see, firsthand, how our work is benefiting Missouri’s communities and our natural resources. We’ve showcased the power of prescribed fire, native grasslands, high-quality rivers, and the importance of conservation programs that support private landowners.

Connecting our leaders with the landscape provides opportunities to enhance the understanding of Missouri’s conservation challenges and solutions that benefit both people and nature. The Nature Conservancy is a voice for nature. Together with our state and federal leaders and our supporters, we can protect Missouri’s great places and valuable natural resources that we all depend on.

Missourians Unite for Conservation

On November 8th 2016, the citizens of Missouri overwhelming passed Amendment 1 to renew the Parks, Soils and Water Conservation Sales Tax by 80.1%! This amazing show of support for our state proves how much Missourians care about conservation, agriculture, and water quality especially as it relates to our quality of life and our economy. More than 19 million people visit our state parks and historic sites annually, providing more than $1 billion a year in economic impact and supporting 14,000 jobs.

Missouri's Parks, Soils and Water Conservation Sales Tax was one of the largest conservation funding measures on the ballot of any state – generating between $80-90 million a year for soil management and state parks. The Missouri effort was the first major push to secure funding and public policy to reduce nutrients in the Mississippi River basin. “Though the impact of this program within Missouri is tremendous, our sights have been set on impact beyond our state borders. Our strategy has been fueled by a belief that a successful renewal, clearly supported across the political spectrum, can catalyze similar efforts throughout the Mississippi River basin" said Adam McLane, Missouri State Director. “We are obviously thrilled not only that Amendment 1 was renewed but by the response of the community to do so,” said McLane.

Missouri's External Affairs Manager, Holly Neill said she learned that the most critical part of the campaign was to unite with partners to find common ground and to then leverage the differences that each partner can bring. The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Federation, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Parks Association are just a few of the many organizations that came together with staffing and funding to support this effort. “This diverse coalition of partners and citizens have identified soil, water, and well managed natural areas as a shared priority worth uniting around. That, perhaps, is the most important good thing to keep going in Missouri,” said Neill.

Connecting with Leadership

In 2018, TNC staff and trustees participated in both state and federal advocacy days to personally meet with legislators to discuss our conservation priorities in Missouri. More than advocating for conservation policy, these important meetings and conversations demonstrate the passion and dedication that our staff and trustees have for our mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.

During State Advocacy Day in Jefferson City, 18 meetings were held with state Senators and members of the House of Representatives. Additionally, meetings with leadership from the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Department of Natural Resources provided opportunities to discuss common goals, strategies, and partnerships.

While on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., staff and trustees met with 7 congressional offices to discuss federal policy including the Farm Bill, Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the Water Resources Development Act.

We appreciate the dedication of our trustees and the legislators who participate in these conversations to help us achieve our vision of a more sustainable Missouri.

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