The Missouri Department of Conservation is currently considering
reintroducing a small population of elk into the eastern Ozarks in Shannon,
Carter, and Reynolds counties. There is a public comment period that ends
October 1st. Extensive woodland/savanna/glade restoration work has been done
in this area (benefitting many declining songbirds) and large grazers like
elk usually help that process along. Their presence would probably also
serve as an incentive to keep such efforts going. Here is a link to the page
with information as well as a place for the public to send in comments...

Just my opinion... I did some surveys at Peck Ranch Conservation Area (in
the heart of the proposed range) over several days in the summer of 2007 as
part of a seasonal job and it was clear the MDC was taking restoration
seriously. They were doing lots to open up former glades and woodlands.
Given the role elk played in Missouri's landscape I think it would be a
definite step in the right direction. There was a less detailed elk
restoration plan that was shelved in the early 2000's due to concerns over
chronic wasting disease and damage to private property, but it seems this
plan addresses those issues pretty thoroughly. Check it out and comment one
way or the other if so inclined.

Phil Wire
Bowling Green, Pike Co.
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