public land stewardship goals aim to achieve the following:
- To provide the land base necessary to assist in the conservation of the state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources.
- To identify, acquire, protect and manage Missouri’s most significant land and water resources for appreciation and use by future generations.
- To preserve Missouri’s outdoor heritage through public access.
- To promote hunter and angler recruitment while providing outdoor education opportunities, as well as providing outdoor and resource-related recreation.
Missouri Prairie Foundation: Conserving Public Prairies
Tallgrass prairie once covered 15 million acres of Missouri—nearly one-third of the state. Today, less than 1 percent remains. Our prairie remnants are stunning in their ecological wealth and complexity— they provide habitat for hundreds of plant species, thousands of invertebrates (including as many as 400 different pollinating insects) and dozens of animals.
The Missouri Prairie Foundation, the Department, The Nature Conservancy, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and other groups own approximately 30,000 acres of original and restorable prairie.
These areas are maintained for the public to enjoy and to ensure that prairie is forever a part of Missouri’s natural heritage.
The Missouri Prairie Foundation partners with other conservation groups and private landowners to enable the restoration and management of prairie on a larger scale than any one group or individual could accomplish alone. In 1998, the Foundation spearheaded the formation of the Grasslands Coalition—20 conservation groups and private landowners working together to pool resources and make a lasting impact on native grasslands and the animals that live there.
The Foundation works with landowners to improve prairie habitat, share technical knowledge and leverage funding for restoration work. In one example, the Foundation recently completed a three-year $70,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore native prairies and manage grasslands in the Mystic Plains Conservation Opportunity Area in Adair and Sullivan counties. The Foundation partnered with the Department and private landowners to improve more than 2,000 acres by eliminating woody cover, removing fences, resting hay fields, controlling invasive species and assisting with prescribed fires. This resulted in greater prairie species diversity, expanded open vistas and created more continuous habitat needed by grassland birds and other wildlife—for less than $55 an acre.
Join in the fun at the Foundation’s annual Prairie BioBlitz, where outdoor enthusiasts can become “weekend citizen scientists” by discovering and documenting plant and animal species on a prairie. This event increases biological