El Dorado Springs, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will purchase additional land tracts for the Linscomb Wildlife Area with the help of conservation partners and donors. This addition will provide new opportunities to enhance native grassland ecology and will provide new opportunities for hunting, hiking, and birding in southern St. Clair County.

MDC will add 510 acres in two separate tracts to be purchased from Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever. The Missouri Conservation Commission approved the purchase on July 9. The tracts border the southeast corner of the Linscomb area. They will provide new public access to the south portion of the area. The acquisitions will help restore a piece of western Missouri’s prairie heritage.

Tallgrass prairie once dominated the landscape near Linscomb. Slopes sometimes transitioned into open woodlands with trees or bottomland forest. The Linscomb area’s north boundary is the Osage River. But the uplands were dominated by open prairie.

The new tracts appear to have some sandstone glades with few trees, said Stasia Whitaker, MDC wildlife management biologist. They match well with adjoining acres where MDC has successfully restored native wildflower and grass species. This addition will dovetail into prairie restoration efforts in the Upper Osage Grasslands, an MDC priority geography. Conservation partners including private landowners are incorporating native species into practices that benefit native plant and wildlife species.

“Vegetation on the new tracts indicate native species still grow there,” Whitaker said. “They could be significantly restored following a management plan that includes prescribed fire, invasive species management, conservation grazing, and woody vegetation control.”

Less than one-tenth of one percent of Missouri’s once-vast tallgrass prairie remains. Similar changes in land use nationwide have made grassland birds among the nation’s most threatened and imperiled species. Prairies are havens for ground feeding and nesting birds from bobwhite

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