Become familiar with Missouri’s environment and the resources available in the state. Learn about your elected officials and your state and federal agencies, which direct and regulate a wide range of environmental protections. Sign up to receive information about projects that impact Missouri’s environment, and learn where to look for public notice.

A. People and Agencies to Know

All advocacy is relational. Whether you are working next to someone or across the table from them, there is a relationship that will either help or hinder your cause. Your ability to learn information, access local leaders or the media, rally support, and influence decision-makers is based on relationships. Building and maintaining good relationships is key as well as understanding the relationships of the people you are trying to influence.

You can start by getting to know your neighbors, local business owners, and other active community members and the faith organizations, clubs, or volunteer organizations people in your community belong to. Learn who your elected officials are, from city council and mayor to Missouri’s U.S. Senators. And become familiar with your state and federal agencies, which direct and regulate a wide range of environmental protections.

Local Officials

The structure of your local government depends on where you live. Research your county and city to find more details specific to where you live.

  • Mayor
  • City council members or aldermen
  • County and municipal commissioners
  • Other locally elected office-holders include collector, sheriff, clerk, recorder of deeds, treasurer, assessor, prosecuting attorney, circuit clerk, and coroner

Missouri Regional Planning Commissions

Missouri State Elected Officials

Federal Officials

Missouri State Agencies

Federal Agencies

Advocacy Organizations in Missouri

Local Officials

The structure of your local government depends on where you live. Research your county and city to find more details specific to where you live.

  • Mayor
  • City council members or aldermen
  • County and municipal commissioners
  • Other locally elected office-holders include collector, sheriff, clerk, recorder of deeds, treasurer, assessor, prosecuting attorney, circuit clerk, and coroner


Missouri Regional Planning Commissions

Regional Planning Commissions are networks of local governments that collaborate to address regional issues. A comprehensive list of Regional Planning Commissions in the state of Missouri can be found here. These commissions often have plans or departments focused on regional sustainability and environmental health.

Missouri State Elected Officials

  • Photo by Kbh3rd/Wikimedia Commons
    State representatives and state senators represent you in the General Assembly, the state’s legislative body.
  • The Governor is the top executive in the state. 
  • The Lieutenant Governor is the next in line after the governor, breaks ties in the Senate, and serves on a variety of state boards and commissions. 
  • The Attorney General (AG) is the attorney for the state. The AG represents the legal interests of Missouri and its people as a group, but cannot represent individual citizens in private legal actions. The AG also must prosecute or defend all appeals to which the state is a party and is required to institute, in the name and on behalf of the state, all civil suits and other proceedings that are necessary to protect the state’s rights, interests or claims. This office renders official opinions to the General Assembly, Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, the heads of the various state departments and the circuit or prosecuting attorneys on questions of law relating to their duties. 
  • The Secretary of State (SOS) is the chief elections official, bearing responsibility for all statewide elections and overseeing local verification of petition signatures for initiative petitions. This office registers businesses and nonprofits and serves as a clearinghouse for information among other functions. 
  • The State Auditor determines if tax dollars are spent efficiently, economically, and legally, and how well public funds are protected from potential fraud or abuse. 
  • The State Treasurer is the state’s chief financial officer, managing Missouri’s annual state revenues, directing its banking services, and overseeing its $3.5 billion investment portfolio. 
  • Find out more information about Missouri’s elected officials here.

Federal Officials

Missouri State Agencies

  • Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA): MDA regulates pesticide use, animal health, and is responsible for food assistance programs.
  • Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC): MDC licenses hunting, trapping, and fishing. MDC promotes Missouri’s natural plant and animal wildlife. Outdoor sports and recreation enthusiasts can be good allies on environmental and conservation causes. 
  • Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): The DHSS is Missouri’s public health agency and collaborates with other state agencies, like DNR, to help interpret health data and risks for people near an environmental threat. 
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR): DNR is the first state agency to go to when looking for information about environmental protection. Most permits to pollute (e.g., air, water, soil) are issued by the DNR. The DNR directs other environmental agencies in Missouri, some of which are listed below. DNR Regional Offices can be found here.  
  • Missouri State Parks: The Division of State Parks administers Missouri state parks, including programs in outdoor recreation and trails. 
  • State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO): The SHPO assesses and protects historic, architectural and archaeological resources in the state of Missouri.
  • Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ): The Division of Environmental Quality works to protect Missouri and its communities from pollution, harmful emissions, and discharges and waste disposal practices. The DEQ oversees many other environmental programs for Missouri’s DNR, including the following: 
    • Environmental Services Program: The Environmental Services Program collects and analyzes data through fieldwork, site monitoring, and laboratory testing to support the programs under DEQ. This is the program where you can report environmental emergencies and concerns.
    • Soil and Water Conservation Programs: The Soil and Water Conservation Programs help farmers and landowners with soil and water conservation through partial reimbursements for a number of management practices. This program also oversees 114 Soil and Water Conservation Districts which direct soil and water conservation programs at a local scale. 
    • Water Protection Program (WPP): The Water Protection Program oversees water pollution and public drinking water. This program is also responsible for CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) and other wastewater facility permitting.
    • You may find a list of all of the programs under DEQ here
  • Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC): The PSC approves monopoly utility rates, including electric, natural gas, water, and telecommunications. The PSC has public comment periods, including public meetings, to solicit input when considering rate increases. The PSC has public hearings whenever a utility requests a rate increase. You can learn more about current projects through agendas, minutes, press releases, and publications, which can all be found on the PSC’s website. For a full list of Missouri State Agencies, visit 

Federal Agencies

  • Department of Energy (DOE): The DOE addresses issues surrounding energy, the environment, and nuclear challenges, emphasising the use of science and technology. 
  • Department of Interior (DOI): The DOI manages the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Parks Service (NPS). The USGS provides science on land use, water quality, and other natural resources. The NPS manages our national parks, monuments, and provides environmental impact studies on those sites. Units of NPS in Missouri include:
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): The USDA administers several federal programs and issues regulations related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, and food. This includes financial resources for conservation on agricultural land, organic production, nutrition assistance programs, and production of commodity crops such as corn and soybeans.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS): The FWS is primarily concerned with the protection and management of fish and wildlife resources, through methods such as enforcing wildlife laws and protecting habitats. USFWS also manages the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, a 367 mile refuge throughout central and southwestern Missouri located along the Missouri River  that is designed to conserve fish and wildlife species.

Advocacy Organizations in Missouri

We want to highlight that there are many other nonprofit and community organizations throughout the state that may have more information related to your advocacy goals. Below, you will find a map of organizations in Missouri that advocate for a range of environmental issues, including protecting our water resources, advocating for public lands, and protecting the public health of Missouri communities. This is not a comprehensive list of environmental organizations in Missouri, rather, organizations that focus on advocacy work. We hope that these resources may help you further pursue your advocacy goals if you have questions beyond what is provided in this guide. MCE staff is also available to answer any questions. Please use us as a resource.

B. Get Your Bearings

Check out local maps! Learning where to find and how to read a wide variety of maps can help you understand how local streams flow and migratory patterns; identify floodplains, transportation routes, and where development is planned; anticipate the best places for wildlife habitat, recreation, and farming;  and plan for public meetings and advocacy actions. Your city or county may have a neighborhood or city plan that gives insight into what may be coming to your community. Familiarize yourself with the relevant agencies and documents. While there are a number of resources highlighted below, there are many more that are easily accessible by doing a quick Google search that cover a variety of topics, depending on your interests.

Geologic map for the state of Missouri, from Missouri’s DNR.

EPA’s EnviroAtlas

Learn about the environment around you with the EPA’s EnviroAtlas. This tool provides an interactive map to explore a range of topics in your area, such as water supply, climate, energy, and protected lands.

Conservation Maps

  • Check out the Missouri Department of Conservation’s MO Outdoors App for your mobile device to see where there are conservation sites near you. These areas are protected for wildlife and recreation. 
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Information for Planning and Consultation includes resources to find endangered species in your area. Click “Get Started” to map endangered species near you.
  • The National Wetlands Inventory allows you to view maps of the wetlands near you.
  • The National Resources Conservation Service Web Soil Survey is an online tool that maps soil data for your designated Area of Interest.

Watershed Maps

  • See who is monitoring your watersheds with this map of state watersheds available from DNR.
  • Missouri Stream Team provides maps that show where stream teams have adopted rivers and streams and where activities such as water quality monitoring and clean up are located. 
  • The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge’s maps show wildlife refuges and wetland management in the Missouri River region.
  • Learn more about watersheds at, a project sponsored by MCE to mark watershed with art. Enjoy images from the watersheds of the Mississippi River and Missouri River while learning what it means to live in a watershed.

Flood Zone Maps

  • FEMA provides a flood map service to show areas with flood risks
  • In Kansas City, find your flood zone using the City of Kansas City’s mapping system, by checking the box that says “floodplain.”
  • In St. Louis, Know Your Zone is a public awareness initiative provided by The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to encourage residents to find out what flood zone you live in.
  • EPA’s EnviroAtlas also has information available regarding flood zones. More information about EnviroAtlas may be found above.

Environmental Hazard Maps

  • EPA’s EJSCREEN tool includes 11 environmental indicators, allowing you to map proximity to hazardsincluding air pollutants and hazardous waste.
  • Find out more about where specific air pollutants are being monitored with this tool from the Missouri DNR.
  • Learn about Missouri cleanup sites and Superfund sites with these tools from the EPA.
  • Missouri’s 303(d) rivers and streams do not meet Clean Water Act standards. Missouri’s DNRprovides a list of impaired water bodies.
  • MCE’s CAFO map shows where CAFOs are located across Missouri. See where CAFOs are located and learn more about the environmental impact of CAFOs with these resources from MCE
  • USGS provides a number of maps on the Missouri webpage, including domestic wells, and oil and gas assessments. These can be found on the USGS Missouri webpage.
  • Learn where your trash goes with Missouri DNR’s map and lists of permitted landfill and transfer stations.

Foodshed Maps

  • In St. Louis, use MCE’s foodshed map to learn more about sustainable agriculture and the local food systems. Additionally, you can find local farmers through the Known & Grown STL webpage, which includes a list of where to find Known & Grown products. 
  • In Kansas City, visit Kansas City Food Circle to find farms with CSAs and restaurants that source locally.
  • MU Extension’s MO Food Finder allows farmers to submit their information to be listed on this map to help identify local food statewide.
  • Make an informed decision on what Missouri fish are safe to eat, through the guide from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Case Study: Hockey Complex in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park

In 2017, there was a proposal to construct a hockey complex in St. Louis County’s Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park. This project would have converted 40 acres of a public county park in the Missouri River floodplain into a massive hockey complex. To protect this land from development, Open Space Councilcoordinated with a number of environmental organizations in Missouri, including MCE, to successfully block this proposal.

Linda Fenton, Open Space Council Board Member and previous member of the City of Kirkwood’s Park Board, provides insight on advocacy surrounding land development, and recommends that you consider the following when thinking about protecting land: 

A) Does the land in question have any restrictions on it? Restrictions may include land conservation easements, utility easements, deed restrictions. If it was purchased with grant money such as LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund) there may be limitations on its use or development. This is often the saving grace for many public lands. 

B) Municipal land use changes: Look at the Missouri Revised Statutes, which include the classification of municipalities. Some of the classifications of cities have a couple important elements:

  • That the city have a comprehensive (long term usually 10-15 years) plan which includes public input to formulate. It outlines goals & objectives for the future such as preserving historic locations, floodplain restoration, creating parks in certain areas that don’t have a park, working with nonprofits to improve natural areas, and more. Browse through a city’s comprehensive plan (and the previous one) to see if the project you are advocating for or against is consistent with the comprehensive plan, its goals, and objectives. 
  • Section 89 of the Missouri Revised Statutes addresses zoning. This section can be helpful when going before a city council or planning and zoning commission. It’s especially important to look at the requirements for voting, such as whether something can pass by a simple majority or requires ⅔ approval by the deciding body.

C. Getting Information From the Government – Lists to Follow

This section is helpful for learning how to receive government information before you know there is a problem and for looking up information after you’ve learned of a problem.


Government Agencies and Elected Officials

In many cases, government agencies and elected officials keep lists of people to notify when they schedule meetings, consider issues or actions, or publicize rules or decisions. Sign up for lists from your elected representatives and look for agencies that deal with the issues you are interested in and sign up for their lists. By paying attention to decisions and proposed decisions of federal, state, and local agencies you will be better prepared to identify and address potential problems. You can usually request whether to receive these updates electronically or by mail.

Helpful Links to Listservs

Some of the following agencies maintain listservs and share notices regularly:

  • To sign up for lists at the Department of Natural Resources, visit MO DNR Subscriber and select your lists. From here you can sign up for notices from the air pollution program, the state parks, and the solid waste management program forum, among many others. You can also receive notices on landfill permits, boil orders, and other important notices. Please note that these lists are not a catch-all of everything happening at DNR and you will likely need to call if you are looking for specific information or check the various agency websites. MCE has noticed that since 2016 many of these lists have not been as active as before. For example, no boil orders have been noticed up to this list since 2017. 
  • To sign up to receive notices from the Missouri Department of Conservation, visit MDC Subscriberand select the lists you want to subscribe to, including information on permits, regulations, and upcoming events.
  • For updates from EPA on enforcement and compliance sign up at Join the ECHO Listserv | ECHO | US EPA
  • For updates from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for issuing permits to develop wetlands, and levees visit the respective districts:
    • Kansas City District – A list of public notices may be accessed here. You may find contact information for the Regulatory Branch of the Kansas City District here — they may be able to assist you in joining a listserv. 
    • St. Louis District – Website > 408 Permits.  See Public Notices
    • Little Rock District – Public Notices – See Public Notice Information
    • Parts of Missouri are also in the Memphis District and Rock Island Districts. To our knowledge, there are no listservs for these districts, but you may access public notices for the Memphis District here and for the Rock Island District here.
  • For updates from the St Louis area East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWG) sign up for local government briefings at East-West Gateway Council of Governments (EWGCOG)
  • For updates from The Mid-America Regional Council ’s (MARC) Air Quality Forum, sign up for committee updates at contact us and stay informed – Transportation

Please note that many other agencies offer listservs, which can be located by a simple search online. Many of these notices are also made available on social media so be sure to follow government agencies on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

D. Getting Public Notice

What is Public Notice?

In some cases the government is required to provide public notice. They may use the listservs mentioned above or sometimes notice must be posted in a particular place, such as outside city hall or in a particular newspaper or city journal. Learn where your local government publishes such notices and keep an eye out.  For examples, see below.

Be sure to watch for any permit applications or proposed regulations that could affect your environment. As a member of the public, you usually have a right to receive notice (that is, announcements) when government agencies use their power to create rules or issue permits to polluters. 

Monitoring these notices is important. The law may only provide a short period (for example, 30 days) after an agency publishes a notice for public comment  A public comment period is a length of time during which a government agency will accept feedback and input from the public about a proposed permit or regulation. Prompt notice allows you more time to review the permit application or proposed rule. Failure to comment within the comment period usually means that 1) the agency will not pay attention to your comments, and 2) you may not appeal the government’s decision to a court. 

Government notices can include information on permit applications, renewals, and approvals. These permits allow polluters to discharge pollution into the air and water under certain conditions and pursuant to specific criteria. Some government agencies publish or distribute a notice that they have received a permit application. In addition, government agencies often provide notice of proposed permit decisions. 

Government agencies create and amend rules to regulate environmental pollution. Usually, the agency will start by drafting a rule or an amendment. Then the agency will publish or distribute notice about the proposed rule and invite public comment.  

In a notice of an opportunity for public comment, the government typically invites the public to comment on a permit application or a proposed rule. For example, state agencies like the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) often seek public comment about a permit application by publishing public notice of the proposed permit. The notice will include a deadline or set a time limit (for example, 15, 30, or 90 days from the date of notice) for public comment.  

Examples of Public Notice

*coming soon*

How to get Notice from Government Agencies

Your method of accessing notice of government actions will likely depend on the government agency involved and on the type of activity at issue in the permit or rule.  

The government may publish announcements in newspapers or flyers about public meetings. Your town, city, or county government offices may also publish announcements about regular meetings on their website or in a city journal. For example, the calendars of meetings and agendas for Cape Girardeau, Columbia, St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Kansas City, and Springfield governments are located at the following internet addresses: 

These web addresses may have changed by the time you are reading this. It should be relatively easy, however, to find current web addresses. 

Government websites are, in general, good sources of information. Please refer to Section A. People and Agencies to Know, for lists of state and federal environmental agencies. These agencies have websites that you can search for public notices and other information. For example, below are public notice websites for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation —two important state environmental agencies. The following internet addresses are subject to change, but it should be relatively easy to find current web addresses.

If you would like to have public notices sent directly to you, you can request to be added to a government agency email “listserv.” See Section C. Getting Information From the Government – Lists to Follow, for more information about listservs.

You can also find proposed state rules in the Missouri Register.

On a Federal level, the Federal government compiles public notices about many topics in a daily publication called the Federal Register. You can subscribe online to receive an electronic copy of the Federal Register. You can sign up for the Federal Register here.