ESD’s - The New and Improved ECS


Alicia Struckhoff

ESD Program Coordinator, Missouri Department of Conservation, Central Regional Office and Conservation Research Center, Columbia, MO, 65201. To contact, call 573-815-7900 or email

Abstract – For the past 15 years, the Missouri Department of Conservation has had a strong partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the University of Missouri, the Missouri DNR, and the USFS research station, with the goal of developing first state-wide, and then MLRA-wide, Ecological Sites. The Missouri approach and partnerships has served as a model for Ecological Site work across the rest of the country and has recently been proposed for adoption as a national initiative to accelerate the development of Provisional Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs) nationwide in five years. Although still in the “provisional” stage of development, the ESDs contain sufficient information for use in conservation planning with landowners for federal cost-share programs, and land management of conservation areas, state parks and other public lands. While the Missouri approach can be criticized for the amount of time that has passed since the initial work began, it is now situated to quickly and precisely cover the entire state, and every MLRA touching the state of Missouri, with draft site concepts, and to also accelerate those drafts into completed approved documents in a shorter timeframe than any other state in the country, with data and documents that are already being used by MDC, the Missouri NRCS and additional partners.