Marmaton River Bottoms
Swamp Milkweed and Wet Bottomland Prairie
Points of Interest:
- See the largest wet prairie remnant in the Osage Plains.
- Enjoy blooms of swamp milkweed and waving stands of cordgrass.
Natural Features Description:
Wet bottomland prairies were historically more common in Missouri but because of its high agricultural productivity when drained and protected from flooding there are fewer than 2,500 acres of good quality wet bottomland prairie left in Missouri. These prairies pack in the biomass and are characterized by a dense growth of cordgrass that can reach six feet tall. Although cordgrass dominates, sedges and forbs, including willow aster and swamp milkweed, are scattered through the prairie. Sedge wrens and common yellowthroats may be observed. On occasion the Marmaton River tops its banks and floods this bottom. Wet prairies historically developed with both fire and flooding disturbances.
This natural area is owned by The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected over 145,000 acres of critical lands and waters in the state. The Nature Conservancy has been and continues to be a valuable conservation partner in the effort to conserve Missouri’s natural communities. For more information see http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/missouri or call 314-968-1105.
Access can at times be difficult due to flooding. From the intersection of Business 71 and Highway W (Ash Street) in downtown Nevada, proceed north on W (Ash Street) through town. About 0.5 mile after passing the state facility, W turns sharply west (left). Do not make this turn, but instead proceed straight on a small gravel road continuing north. After one-mile, this road ends at a T junction. Turn left (west). Follow this road through its twists and turns, over the Marmaton River bridge, and continue west until you reach the first road leading south (left). Proceed down this road until you come to the north end of the natural area. A four wheel drive vehicle may be needed at times navigate the county roads.
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