Lake Taneycomo

February 2012 Newsletter from the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery Conservation Center

Posted by John Miller on February 6th, 2012
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Animals In Love

Friday,  February 10th  7:00 –8:30 p.m.
Humans are not the only animals with thoughts of love on their minds during the month of February.  You will be amazed at how many animals are courting, breeding, or nesting this month.  This program will give you a glimpse of some of the strategies that animals use to find mates, find the right places to nest, and know when to breed.  There will lots of activities in this program including how the animals can tell boys from the girls when they appear to look exactly like to us. This program is FREE, but reservations are REQUIRED by calling (417) 334-4865 ext 0.

Fly Tying Class

Saturday, February 11th and 25th  2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
This next class will continue with tying some of the larger streamers.  These patterns are good for both muskie and big brown trout.  It truly is an art to see the big fly come to life! In addition to showing the basics on tying these flies, Jeremy will also tell you how to use the flies for more effective presentations!  If you have a fly tying vise bring it, if not one will be provided to you.  Jeremy provides all the materials.Call (417) 334-4865 ext 0 for more information and reservations.

Vulture Venture event

Saturday, February 18th 12noon – 5pm
(Presentations on the top of each hour)
This is our 16th Annual event to learn about one of nature’s ‘clean-up crew’… the vulture.  This program will feature half-hour presentations with Socrates, a live Turkey Vulture from the WOW Museum in Springfield at the top of each hour.  There will also be indoor activities for kids of all ages.  You will also be invited outdoors to see wild vultures roosting along Taneycomo with the help of volunteers and spotting scopes. Each family will receive a free 2012 Vulture Venture Print to take home.  Bring your camera and dress warm for this truly unique outdoor wildlife event.  Reservations are NOT REQUIRED.  Call (417) 334-4865 ext 0. For

Out with Old…In With the New, Newsletters

With some sadness, this will be the last email newsletter from the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery.  Starting next month, you will receive MDC’s newest newsletter, “Nature Connections”.

This new newsletter will combine information from the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, Springfield Nature Center, Andy Dalton Range (Ash Grove), Joplin Office, and the SW Regional Office (Springfield).  This new 8-page newsletter will be similar to the newsletters published in the Kansas City and St. Louis MDC Regions.  This combination will help to not only save money (printing and postage) but expand your information to include all of SW Missouri.

You do not have to do anything to receive this new newsletter in electronic format.  All current subscribers (you) were put into the system managed by our server.   If you know of someone who would like to get signed up for the “Nature Connections” newsletter they have two options.

To receive the newsletter by mail, call any of the offices listed in the newsletter and leave your name and address.

To receive the newsletter electronically by e-mail, go to, click the “Subscribe by Email” box on the right-hand side of the page, and scroll down to “Subscribe to Nature Connections.”

We look forward to creating a new newsletter that shares our information with the rest of the Region.  I hope that you will take advantage of the information and programs at our other sites as well.

Porous-soled waders banned in Missouri trout waters

New MDC regulation takes effect March 1 to help keep Missouri a great place to fish. By Joe Jerek (MDC)
JEFFERSON CITY Mo – With catch-and-keep trout season opening March 1, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds trout anglers to help prevent the spread of a new threat to Missouri’s cold-water streams and rivers. Called “didymo” (Didymosphenia geminata) or “rock snot,” this invasive alga forms large, thick mats on the bottoms of cold- water streams and rivers, reducing the quality and quantity of food vital to fish such as trout. Didymo also clogs water intakes and boat motors. It interferes with fishing gear and eventually makes fishing nearly impossible, with devastating economic and environmental consequences. While it has not been found in Missouri, rock snot has been found just south of the Missouri-Arkansas border in the White River.

According to MDC Fisheries Biologist Mark VanPatten, recreational equipment such as boats, lifejackets and fishing gear, particularly porous-soled waders, are the most likely ways for didymo to spread into Missouri.

“Porous-soled waders and wading boots, worn by many trout anglers, appear to be a likely pathway for the spread of didymo,” VanPatten explains. “The soles hold moisture for days and can harbor cells of this alga. Individual cells cannot be seen with the naked eye and only a single cell is needed to establish a stream-killing colony. Anglers who visit waters with didymo can, unknowingly, transfer these cells to the next stream they visit.”

The Missouri Conservation Commission approved a regulation change in August 2011 that bans the use of porous-soled waders or footwear incorporating or having attached a porous sole of felted, matted, or woven fibrous material when fishing in trout parks and other specific trout waters. The new regulation will go into effect March 1.

“Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish so preventing the spread of this invasive species into Missouri is critical,” VanPatten warns. “There is no way to control or eradicate didymo once it gets established in the state.”

Didymo is kept in check naturally in other parts of the country and world by lower pH, or acidity, levels in the water. Missouri’s wealth of limestone creates higher pH levels in Show-Me waters. These higher pH levels can allow didymo to spread unchecked.

To help reduce the spread of didymo, MDC encourages anglers to remember: Check, then Clean or Dry.

·       Check all gear and equipment and remove any visible algae. Dispose of algae by placing it in the trash, not by putting it down a drain or into bodies of water.

·       Then Clean all gear and equipment with a solution of 2-percent bleach, 5-percent saltwater, or dishwashing detergent. Allow all equipment to stay in contact with the solution for at least three minutes. Soak all soft items, such as felt-soled waders and wader boot cuffs, neoprene waders and life jackets, in the solution for at least 20 minutes.

·       Or then Dry all gear and equipment for at least 48 hours by exposing it to sunlight.

To help anglers clean their waders before entering Missouri trout streams, MDC has installed wader wash stations at Missouri’s five cold-water trout hatcheries: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Salem, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Maramec Spring Park near St. James and Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery by the upper portion of Lake Taneycomo near Branson.

All anglers are encouraged to replace their porous-soled waders with ones that have non-porous rubber or synthetic soles.

Anglers can adapt felt-soled and other porous-soled waders to comply with the new regulation by sealing the soles with solutions of contact cement or marine rubber cement. VanPatten notes the cement may need to be reapplied after each use. MDC offers an instructional video for sealing waders at

“Adapting waders is not a cure,” VanPatten cautions. “It is just one step in prevention. It is still vital to check and clean or dry all waders and all other gear that have had contact with the water.”

For more information, visit and search “didymo.”

2011 Year of Bat Trivia!

While according to the Chinese New Year, 2012 is the year of the Dragon, the United Nations has designated 2012 as the International
The answers to these 2012 trivia questions are at the bottom of this newsletter.

1)Bats always fly into your hair.
A)     True
B)    False

2) Bats can eat up to how much of their weight in insects each night?   
A)  One-third (33%)
B)  One-fourth (25%)
C)  One-tenth  (10%)

3) The wing of a bat is most similar to a human:
A) Ear
B) Hand
C) Foot

4) What are the ‘droppings’ from a bat called?
A)  Guacamole
B)  Guam
C)  Guano

What is it?

This monthly feature that will tie directly into the “Year of the Bat” efforts.

Congratulations to everyone who identified the BAT WING and the answer of HAND for the first “What is It” for 2012.  Bats belong to a group called “Chiroptera” which means ‘winged hand’. Bats literally fly with their hands.

This month’s “What is it?” is another part of an animal.  Your job is not just to provide the specific name of the projection inside the ear (see red circle) of most bats.

HINT:  This is a tough final question, but the name of this flap of skin means “goat” in Latin.

If you can identify the “What is It?”, send your answer to  Thank you for enjoying all of these activities over the course of our newsletter.

Keep asking questions and I will put some of them in future pages of the new newsletter.

ANSWERS to 2012 Year of the Bat

1) B. False (it is a myth that bats try to fly in your hair on purpose).
2) A.  1/3 (bats can eat up to one-third of their weight in bugs each night.  That is the equivalent of a 100 pound kid eating 33 pounds of pizza in one night.  Can you say tummy ache?
3. B. Hand (bats belong to the group “Chiroptera” which means ‘flying hand’.
4. C. Guano.  (This high nitrogen waste was used extensively during the American Civil war to make black powder. )

We hope that you enjoyed this FINAL issue of the Shepherd of the Hills Newsletter.  If you would like for us to focus on a particular plant, animal, or outdoor activity, please let me know.  I would be happy to provide specific information for those subjects in the new newsletterF.


John Miller
Interpretive Center Manager
Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center
483 Hatchery Road
Branson MO 65616
(417) 334 4865 ext 0

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