Mo. Conservation Dept. Assists with Storm Recovery – by Candice Davis

By Guest Contributor

First posted on 02-09-2009

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) crews and heavy equipment were deployed by the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on Saturday to assist Southeast Missouri and Ozark communities with the clearing of debris from Winter Storm 2009.

According to SEMA, about 54,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity as of Sunday evening and AmerenUE estimated the ice storm downed at least 16,000 power poles and hundreds of lines in the Bootheel region.

At SEMA’s request, the MDC mobilized 45 employees and heavy equipment to help with debris removal in Scott, Stoddard and Dunklin counties and also delivered 5,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to Ripley County. MDC employees traveled to Southeast Missouri from Northwest Missouri, St. Louis and Springfield to assist with relief efforts over the weekend.

MDC Private Land Services Regional Supervisor Tony Jaco helped to coordinate efforts from the Cape Girardeau Regional Office. He said it’s not uncommon for the MDC to assist local communities during storm and disaster situations.

“Although we routinely work with the public to manage the fish, forest and wildlife resources of Missouri, we work for the taxpayers and it’s also our responsibility to help the public when we’re needed,” Jaco said. “Our department has many highly trained professionals that know how to work in these situations and we have the heavy equipment that’s needed to get the job done.”

Jaco said MDC employees assisted with relief during the winter storms and floods in 2008 as well. He said several MDC divisions are involved in relief efforts, including Design and Development, Private Land Services, Protection, Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries.

– Candice Davis –

Photo:  MDC employees David Whitener (left) and Keith Crabtree (right) cleared debris Monday from Stoddard County Road 405 near Dexter, Mo. The MDC mobilized 45 employees Saturday to assist communities with debris removal in Scott, Stoddard and Dunklin Counties and to deliver Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) to Ripley County.