MPF Purchases Rare Sand Prairie in SE Missouri

June 12, 2021 | News

On June 1, 2021, MPF purchased a sand prairie of nearly 55 acres in Scott County in southeastern Missouri near Sikeston. This property is likely the most intact and one of only two sand prairies (Southeastern Missouri Subtype) in the Missouri Natural Heritage Database.

MPF’s new acquisition is the only tract in conservation ownership containing sand savanna—a critically imperiled natural community in the state. It also has a rare sand swale and provides habitat for a remarkable 18 species of conservation concern.

“Sand prairies of southeastern Missouri historically harbored many plants and animals with affinities for the Coastal Plain and other areas of the southeastern United States,” said MPF Vice President of Science & Management Bruce Schuette. “Today, this tract of land supports numerous plants and animals that occur only in southeastern Missouri and no other place in this state, with their nearest other populations in Arkansas, South Carolina, or other southeastern states.”

This sand prairie was owned for many years by the Charleston Baptist Association, and was leased for sand prairie management conducted by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) for nearly 20 years.

This purchase was made possible thanks to a bequest to MPF from the late Ed Schmidt of St. Louis and a grant from the MDC Conservation Land Acquisition Program. MPF is grateful for this funding that has allowed MPF to purchase and protect the rare natural heritage elements of this sand prairie, to be enjoyed by Missourians in perpetuity.

Watch for details with information about visiting this prairie. To learn more about sand prairies, you may wish to read this article from the Missouri Prairie Journal.

Photo of Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) and Carolina or plains puccoon (Lithospermum caroliniense) growing at MPF’s new sand prairie acquisition by Bruce Schuette.

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