MPF’s Linden’s Prairie. Photo: Lloyd Grotjan
Where We Work
About MPF Prairies
The Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) has protected more than 4,000 acres of prairie (900 acres from several tracts conveyed to the Missouri Department of Conservation) and currently owns 3,200 acres of prairie in 23 tracts around the state. Most are original remnants with a high level of native biodiversity; Runge Prairie, Bruns Tract, and the Welsch Tract are restorations or reconstructions, and some of MPF’s original prairies include adjacent, MPF-owned reconstructions.
MPF prairies are open to the public. (Scroll down for pages on each prairie.)
Except as noted below, all are open only for access on foot for hiking, bird watching, nature photography, and nature viewing only. Several prairies have unstocked, old farm ponds available for public fishing. Three prairies are open to public hunting, and state hunting regulations apply: Gayfeather, Friendly, and Drovers’. MPF’s Stilwell Prairie is enrolled in the MRAP program and is open to youth-only hunting and fishing. All other uses require written permission. MPF organizes special camping events and special hunting events such as youth hunts, at specific times during the year. For more information call 888-843-6739.
MPF properties are beautiful landscapes that provide habitat for hundreds of plant species, thousands of invertebrates, and dozens of vertebrate animals, as well as 30 species of conservation concern. The individual prairie pages below include links to botanical, bird, and other species inventories. MPF manages its lands with periodic, prescribed fire and control of invasive plants, which includes tree and brush removal, and targeted herbicide treatment of cut stumps, tall fescue, sericea lespedeza, and other plants that can degrade prairie habitat and decrease native biodiversity. The Missouri Department of Conservation provides management services for several MPF properties.
Most MPF properties lie within Conservation Opportunity Areas, designated as the best remaining areas in the state to direct resources for landscape-scale prairie conservation, and several lie within Audubon Important Bird Areas.
Ecologists rank temperate grasslands—which include Missouri’s tallgrass prairies—as the least conserved, most threatened major terrestrial habitat type on earth. Prairie protection efforts in Missouri, therefore, are not only essential to preserving our state’s natural heritage, but also are significant to national and even global conservation work. MPF is the only organization in the state whose land conservation efforts are dedicated exclusively to prairie and other native grasslands.
In addition to managing its properties, MPF also provides management services for prairies of several partners, including the Missouri Department of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, Ozark Land Trust, and individual private landowners in key geographies.
For an online directory of prairies accessible to the public, owned by state agencies, MPF, and other groups, please consult the Public Prairies of Missouri Interactive Story Map, developed by the Missouri Department of Conservation in partnership with MPF.
MPF has also supported other native grassland projects, including providing start-up funds in 1980 for Shaw Nature Reserve’s initial tallgrass prairie planting, and financial assistance for the Kennedy Woods Savanna restoration in Forest Park, St. Louis. Learn more about these MPF projects carried out on partner lands.
Read more about MPF’s “Prairie Pearls” in this article from the Summer 2017 issue of the Missouri Prairie Journal. Read MPF Vice President of Science & Management Bruce Schuette’s paper, The Conservation Significance of Prairie Remnants in Missouri, which he delivered at the 2016 North American Prairie Conference in Illinois, here.
Learn about coefficient of conservatism and the conservation significance of conservative plant species here.