The area occupied by the Bob Brown Conservation Area was historically mostly bottomland forest, with some scattered wet prairie (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Today the area is a matrix of marshland, cropland, old-field, grassland, and forest, managed by Missouri Department of Conservation. Boundaries of the IBA are superimposed on those of Bob Brown Conservation Area.
The IBA provides wetland habitat for breeding, migrating, and wintering wetland birds. Over 18,000 waterfowl (mostly Mallards) were present on the area during MDC?s 2005 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey. Some tracts of emergent marsh have been established on the area, and Least Bitterns, American Bitterns, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Marsh Wrens, and other marshbirds are frequently seen by local birders in good numbers. The marshes have not been well explored during breeding season, and thus breeding status of many of these species on the area is not fully known, although the high quality of the habitat there and diversity of species seen indicates that many sensitive species may breed there, possibly even King Rails.
Wetlands within this IBA are intensively managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation for waterfowl hunting and for marsh habitat, and habitats on the area are relatively secure. Emergent marshes that have been developed on the area in recent years are exceptional.