Recent land acquisition adds valuable acres to MDC grassland focus area in Dade County

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LOCKWOOD, Mo. – At its Feb. 16 meeting, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved the naming of a new 160-acre conservation area in Dade County to honor the Berrier family for their generous donation to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) for public grassland acquisition. The new area will be named the Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier Memorial Tract to Sons Creek Conservation Area.

“Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier would be delighted to see their donation used to acquire prairie property that will be incredibly impactful in benefiting native grasslands and all the species that need it, like wildflowers, birds, pollinators, quail, amphibians, and reptiles,” said MCHF Executive Director Tricia Burkhardt. “We are pleased to partner with the Missouri Conservation Commission and MDC to help connect more grasslands in this property.”

The purchase of the new tract to the Sons Creek Conservation Area was approved by the Conservation Commission at its December meeting in Jefferson City. The conservation area is located five miles northwest of Lockwood off Dade County road 41. 

The new Sons Creek Conservation Area will be reconstructed by MDC staff into a diverse grassland of native grasses and wildflowers. Trees and other woody vegetation will be removed to create an open grassland vista. Once completed, the new conservation area will provide additional hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities in southwest Missouri.

“The Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier Memorial Tract to Sons Creek Conservation Area will provide some connectivity to existing quality grassland habitat,” said MDC Southwest Regional Resource Management Supervisor Nick Burrell. “It will allow native plants and wildlife that depend on grasslands to have better chances of survival and expansion. Every opportunity we can give to these species is important, considering the losses we are experiencing to Missouri’s native prairies.” 

The newly added 160-acre Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier Memorial Tract is adjacent to the 160-acre Penn-Sylvania Prairie, which is owned and managed by the Missouri Prairie Foundation. The Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier Memorial Tract will help enhance conservation efforts on the Penn-Sylvania Prairie, which has been recognized as setting the world record for the number of plant species found in a 20X20-inch square.

The addition of the Dr. Harry and Lina Berrier Memorial Tract to the Sons Creek Conservation Area will provide critical habitat for numerous grassland species and further enhance prairie and grassland conservation in the Golden Grasslands Priority Geography located in Dade, Lawrence, and Cedar Counties.

Prairies are diverse native grasslands that have had little to no soil disturbance such as plowing or cultivation and have an abundance of native forbs and grasses and few woody plants. When the first settlers arrived, more than one-third of the state – approximately 15 million acres – was prairie. Today, fewer than 45,000 acres of native prairie remain. For more information on Managing Remnant Prairie and Grasslands, visit