JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - An audit of Missouri's Department of Conservation shows the agency spent nearly $3 million more than projected to reintroduce elk in the state.
The audit says the department did not prepare a "complete and accurate estimate of costs" related to the elk reintroduction. The department planned to spend $411,000 to bring 150 elk to the state, but as of this year, it has spent $3.382 million to release 129 elk.
Approximately half of the total budget came from federal grants and private donations.
The audit also showed the department gave pay raises to employees that were not provided to other state employees.
Overall, State Auditor Tom Schweich rated the agency "Good," the second-highest rating.