elk

David Stonner/Missouri Department of Conservation

A report released on Friday by the Missouri auditor's office says the state continued to overspend on its elk restoration project, even after a 2011 audit found it was way over budget.

The current audit found the Missouri Department of Conservation spent close to $3.4 million to bring 129 elk into the state. Only an estimated 115 elk have survived.

But conservation department Deputy Director Tom Ripperger says those figures are misleading.

A Missouri House interim committee heard testimony Monday on whether Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, poses a grave threat to the state's white tail deer and elk populations.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Lawmakers in Missouri will continue working on several issues this summer and fall in preparation for next year's legislative session.

Missouri Department of Conservation

A total of 40 additional elk have arrived at Peck Ranch in southeastern Missouri, including a male calf born en route from Kentucky.

David Stonner/Missouri Department of Conservation

Efforts to reestablish an elk population in southeastern Missouri are now in their third year, and the Missouri Department of Conservation considers the project a success.

There are close to 70 elk now living in parts of Carter, Shannon and Reynolds counties, with another 50 arriving in May.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s elk restoration program coordinator, Ronald Dent, says almost all the elk have stayed in the restoration zone, and so far they haven’t caused any problems.

Kurt Schilligo contributed reporting for this story.

The record summer heat has probably contributed to the death of some of the elk herd recently reintroduced in the Missouri Ozarks.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says six female adults and four calves died in mid-to-late July. The mothers of two of the calves were among the dead females.

Missouri’s elk population appears to be settling into their new home state, according to state conservation officials.

Dr. Joseph Millspaugh of the University of Missouri -- Columbia updated the Missouri Conservation Commission today on the state’s elk herd, which he says seems to be doing well.

“(We have) evidence of survival rates (and) reproductive rates that are average to high," Millspaugh said.  "We see diet quality certainly within the range of what we would expect.”

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Mo. House, Senate push for elimination of Sue Shear Institute

The Missouri House has approved legislation that would strip state funding from an institute that trains women for careers in politics.

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life is located at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and bills itself non-partisan. Its detractors, however, argue the Institute caters to Democrats - a characterization that Springfield Democrat Sara Lampe strongly disputes.

(Missouri Dept. of Conservation)

A controversial Missouri Department of Conservation plan to reintroduce elk into southeastern Missouri is under fire from Republican state auditor Tom Schweich.

Flickr/(SDNG photo by OC Chad Carlson)

Flooding in Mo. Imminent According to Gov. Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon says Missouri is gearing up for imminent and "unprecedented" flooding along the Missouri River.

Nixon said Thursday in St. Joseph that Missourians will face flooding soon along the Missouri River because of rising water levels in the river basin in the northern Plains. He says people with property and businesses in the floodplain should prepare for "unprecedented high water levels."

The elk brought to Missouri early last month as part of a restoration project have been released from their holding pen.

The Missouri Department of Conservation released the 34 elk along with five newborn calves on Wednesday.

The adult elk and calves have been fitted with GPS radio collars as part of a cooperative research project with the University of Missouri-Columbia. The collars will help researchers track the elk's health, movement patterns and preferred types of vegetation.

(Missouri Department of Conservation/Jim Low)

For the first time since the Civil War, elk are back on Missouri soil.

The 34 elk spent three months in quarantine in Kentucky before arriving today in southeast Missouri. They'll be housed temporarily at the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, which is part of the elk restoration zone.

The elk's arrival was delayed from April 30 so conservation officials could complete all the necessary health tests.

(Jeff Williams/WSIU)

Corps Explodes Bird Point Levee to Save Cairo, Ill

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has exploded a large section of a Mississippi River levee in a desperate attempt to protect the Illinois town of Cairo from rising floodwaters. The corps says the break will help Cairo by diverting up to 4 feet of water off the river. As of Monday evening, river levels at Cairo were at historic highs, creating pressure on the flood wall protecting the town.

You can also see photos of the elk and find out more about the reintroduction above. And, for more information about  the elk restoration efforts prior to their arrival in Missouri, see the video below the story text.

Starting tomorrow*, elk will be back in Missouri. They haven’t been here since the mid-1800s, when hunting and habitat loss drove eastern elk to extinction.

States from Arkansas to Pennsylvania have since reestablished their elk populations. And now Missouri is trying to do the same.

But not everyone is happy about the state’s elk reintroduction plans.

Flickr/jimbowen0306

Missouri Senate to Debate Marquee Issues Today

Missouri Senate leaders plan to debate legislation redrawing Missouri's congressional districts and allowing utilities to charge electric customers for some costs of developing a second nuclear power plant in the state. Both bills are likely to generate significant discussion.

Mo. Dept. of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation would have to reimburse landowners for any damage caused by the reintroduction of elk, under a bill filed this week in the State Senate.

If passed, the state would be liable for damage to crops, pastures, livestock, buildings and other property, as well as injuries in traffic crashes caused by elk.