Despite a state audit criticizing how the Conservation Department manages money, conservation officials still believe it is a good bargain for the state. Missouri’s Conservation Department has an annual operating budget of about $123-Million – one of the smallest state agency budgets making up less than one percent of the total state budget. And the Department’s David Thorne says most of that money is part of the sales tax that comes out of the two billion dollars outdoor activities add to the state’s economy. And, Thorne says the money the conservation department puts back into outdoor recreation efforts also helps build the very industry that supports it and winds up growing thousands of jobs in the state. Thorne says in addition, the efforts continue to help pass along the hunting, fishing, and conservation traditions Missourians cherish.