Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Department of Natural Resources Director: Sara Parker Pauley

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources protects, preserves and enhances Missouri’s natural and cultural resources.

We take seriously our responsibility of stewardship to protect and enhance the environment in which we work and live, and we will consider all aspects of the environment when making decisions. In providing public service, we value integrity and excellence in all we do, openness to every point of view and diversity in people and approach.

Preserving, Protecting, Restoring and Enhancing Missouri’s…

Natural Resources –Missouri’s air, land and water resources vary from the rolling farmlands of the north to the Ozark hills of the south and from the Mississippi River bottoms of the east to the open prairies of the west. Its fresh air and flowing waterways, from the Missouri River to its crystal clear spring-fed streams, are lifelines of the state’s health and well-being. The Department of Natural Resources works to ensure clean air, land and water by cleaning up pollution from the past, addressing pollution problems of today and identifying potential pollution issues of the future.

We work with citizens, including landowners, local governments, small businesses and industry, to protect Missouri’s environment. Monitoring, partnerships, technical assistance and training allow the department the opportunity to help Missourians and to protect their natural resources. The department enforces environmental rules and regulations related to air and water pollution; hazardous and solid waste; land reclamation; soil and water conservation and safe public drinking water. Regional and satellite offices provide assistance and outreach services on a local level.

The department interprets the state's geological and hydrological setting. We also interpret the character and availability of Missouri’s water and mineral resources, and ensure the safety of dams. In addition, we preserve and restore our natural landscapes, ranging from natural prairies to Missouri’s many caves.

Cultural Resources – The department preserves and interprets Missouri’s colorful past through programs at historic battlefields, the homes of famous Missourians and Indian and immigrant villages. Nostalgic landmarks, such as mills and covered bridges, take us on a journey back to simpler times. A visit to a state historic site is one way to celebrate and understand Missouri's interesting past and the colorful men and women who shaped our history.

Working with citizens and groups throughout Missouri, we identify, evaluate and protect the state‘s diverse range of historic, architectural and archaeological resources. The department also funds and coordinates surveys to identify historic, architectural and archaeological resources throughout Missouri.

Inspire Their Enjoyment…
Missouri boasts more than 140,000 acres in 87 state parks and historic sites and access to 61,000 acres in the Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry. Visitors can step back into the past to experience our state's history, explore Missouri's natural landscapes such as forests, prairies and savannas, and enjoy opportunities for hiking, bicycling, camping, picnicking, fishing and swimming. To further promote the visitors' understanding and appreciation of these resources, the department provides programs about these natural and cultural resources.

Whether bicycling in the shadow of Missouri River bluffs or strolling through the homes of the state's famous residents, visitors to the state's 87 state parks and historic sites can enjoy our natural and cultural resource diversity.

For More Information…
An important element in the successful completion of the Department of Natural Resources’ mission is helping Missourians and visitors who seek our services. The department provides a number of educational and technical services designed to help individuals, groups and businesses better understand our natural resources and the rules that exist to protect them. It also maintains a vast amount of information available to the public in the form of fact sheets, guidance documents, geologic maps, technical books and publications on a wide variety of issues.