Shooting star at Schuette Prairie. Photo: Bruce Schuette
About Schuette PrairiE
On Nov. 23, 2020, MPF closed on one of three prairie acquisitions of 2020: a 40-acre original, unplowed prairie in Polk County from Local 101 Hoisting Trust. This MPF property is east of Hwy. 13 and south of Bolivar, MO. Funding for this acquisition came from an award to MPF administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. These two agencies are trustees of a Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) program to administer funds from a settlement with ASARCO, a lead mining and smelting company whose operations created damage over the last century while it operated in Jasper and Newton Counties.
An anonymous donor purchased naming rights to name the prairie in honor of MPF’s Vice President of Science and Management Bruce Schuette. Bruce is a dedicated conservationist who enjoyed a 36-year career as the park naturalist at Cuivre River State Park, became an MPF board member in 2000, and was elected to serve as MPF’s Vice President of Science & Management in 2012. Read more about the May 2021 dedication in this Missouri Prairie Journal article.
This prairie and MPF’s La Petite Gemme Prairie (4.5 miles to the northwest) are two of the last remaining remnants of the historic “Three Mound (or Mile) Prairie” that stretched 12.5 miles from northwest to southeast in south-central Polk County. This swath of prairie followed the broad upland divide between the Little Sac River on the west and Pomme de Terre River to the east, averaged 1.5 to 2.5 miles in width and included where the town of Bolivar is today. Rick Means, who worked for the Local 101 Hoisting Trust, recognized the special nature of this tract and restored and stewarded this prairie for many years.
This new acquisition is a limestone/dolomite prairie—a rare natural community—with a prairie swale along the northern edge and many mima mounds. This prairie is unusual for Missouri in that it contains a number of glade species such as prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), yellow coneflowers (Echinacea paradoxa), and Missouri coneflower (Rudbeckia missouriensis). In addition to these dry-soil plants, the prairie’s swale provides habitat for wetter-soil species such as bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum).
While future in-depth surveys of plants and animals at this prairie will add to species lists, initial visits have revealed that of the 82 plant species documented, 23 of them are restricted to remnant ecosystems and include American blue hearts (Buchnera americana), rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), green milkweed (Asclepias viridiflora), prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttalii), and porcupine grass (Stipa spartea). The average coefficient of conservatism of the listed species is 5.2, a value indicating a high level of ecological integrity.
2021 Floristic Integrity Report: Carver (plot 1), Lordi Marker, and Schuette Prairies by the Institute of Botanical Training, LLC.
From Hwy. 13 south of Bolivar, turn east on E 490th Road for almost 2 miles and then south on S 160th Road for 0.75 miles. The prairie will then be on the east side of the road. By GPS: N37 31 28.7544, W93 20 26.31 (in decimal degrees: 37.524654, -93.34064).
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