The Missouri Department of Conservation is updating its management plan for the Davisdale Conservation Area in southeast Howard County, and it’s taking comments from the public on what they’d like to see changed.
The department last updated the Davisdale plan in 2008. After that, the department changed the process for updating plans, setting updates at regular intervals and including public comment in the process, said Central Region Supervisor John George. The next management plan would be in effect from 2020 to 2044.
Anyone with ideas for improving the conservation area can submit them online through Aug. 31. The planning team working on the new Davisdale plan will review the public suggestions and decide what’s practical and what’s impractical or unnecessary to change, George said.
People should sent in anything they feel like sharing about the area, George said. If they’d like to see a campground near a specific parking lot, that could be easy for the department to add depending on the site, he said. If they’d like to see more miles of horse trails, the department would look at how many other horse trails are in the area to see if it would be necessary, he said.
A draft plan available on the department’s website lays out management goals for conservation staff, including keeping ponds stocked with fish, controlling invasive plant species and maintaining a large deer population.
Davisdale is a deer emphasis area, and deer population is supposed to be higher than in Howard County as a whole. That’s why only bow hunting for deer is allowed in Davisdale, George said. The department wants hunters to see plenty of deer, so they have to be conservative in what they allow during deer harvest, he said.
Fescue grass is one of the major invasive species the department works to control in Davisdale, along with autumn olive and bush honeysuckle. Eliminating those plants is impossible, so conservation staff works to keep them from spreading, George said.