MDC hosts 31st Prairie Grouse Technical Council

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Nevada, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently hosted biologists from 17 states and two Canadian provinces for the 31st Prairie Grouse Technical Council. Programs with scientific presentations and papers were held Sept. 22-24 in Nevada, Mo. On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the more than 80 attendees toured Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie near Eldorado Springs and learned about MDC efforts to boost Missouri's endangered prairie chickens.

"This is information sharing between prairie grouse biologists who work across the ranges of four different species in North America," said Max Alleger, the MDC grassland bird coordinator and chair for the event.

The conference program focused on greater prairie chicken, lesser prairie chicken, Attwater's prairie chicken, plains sharp-tailed grouse and Columbian sharp-tailed grouse. Grassland birds throughout North America are in decline due to habitat loss and land use changes. In Missouri, greater prairie chickens are endangered.

Biologists at the conference discussed habitat management efforts to help prairie grouse and research studies about environmental factors that affect the bird populations.

At Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie Conservation Area, MDC staff discussed the re-establishment of a prairie chicken flock on the area by translocating birds from Kansas. The project is a partnership between MDC and The Nature Conservancy, which owns large tracts of the area. Biologists monitored the first birds released on Wah'Kon-Tah with radio telemetry to see what habitat types they prefer during changing seasons. They discussed on the tour ongoing efforts to manage grasslands with prescribed burns, grazing and other practices that benefit prairie chickens.

MDC has a long history of science-based wildlife management. Missouri hosted the first Prairie Grouse Technical Council conference in 1952, Alleger said.

For more information on conservation in Missouri, visit