The Cole Camp Prairies IBA encompasses a complex of remnant tallgrass prairies that have become rare in the Midwest. Formerly dominated by gently rolling tallgrass prairie, exotic fescue pasture and cropland now form the vast habitat matrix for these few prairie remnants (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Woodlands are few, but woodland and shrubland encroachment may present a threat to open grassland habitats in the area (MDC 2005).
Six percent of the Sedalia Prairies IBA is dedicated conservation land, under the management of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) or The Nature Conservancy (TNC), protecting seven tallgrass prairie remnants. These lands include the following MDC areas: Grandfather Prairie Conservation Area (CA) CA (80 acres, 32 ha), Friendly Prairie CA (40 acres, 16 ha; acquired by the Missouri Prairie Foundation [MPF]), Drover?s Prairie CA (80, acres, 32 ha, acquired by MPF), Paint Brush Prairie CA (314 acres, 127 ha), Mora CA (588 acres, 238 ha), and Hi Lonesome Prairie CA (620 acres, 251 ha). This IBA also includes TNC?s Goodnight Henry Prairie (35 acres, 14 ha).

Ornithological Summary

The Schell-Osage / Four Rivers / Truman Lake IBA presents abundant wetland habitat for migrating and breeding waterbirds. Bald Eagles nest on the IBA?and the surrounding vicinity (Jacobs and Wilson 1997)?in the highest densities in the state. Nesting Mississippi Kites and Red-shouldered Hawks have been found on Four Rivers CA, and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Prothonotary Warbler on Schell-Osage CA (Palmer and Palmer 2001). Thousands of waterfowl pass through the IBA each year (over 30,000 individuals were recorded at both Schell Osage and Four Rivers CA during 2005 during MDC?s Midwinter Waterfowl Survey), along with good numbers and diversity of shorebirds.

Conservation Issues

Conservation challenges outlined by MDC (2005) for the landscape encompassing the conservation lands of the Cole Camp Prairies IBA (MDC's Cole camp / Hi Lonesome Prairie Conservation Opportunity Area) include afforestation of native prairie, conversion of native prairie to cool season (fescue) pastures and cropland, and exotic plant invasion of native prairie (especially sericea lespedeza). In addition to restoring tallgrass prairie and limiting woodland encroachment on existing conservation areas, similar actions could be taken by private landowners to maximize the abundance, sizes, and connectivity of native prairie remnants (e.g., through state and federal incentives, such as USDA?s Conservation Reserve Program). MDC has already involved many partners and much funding toward prairie conservation in this landscape (see MDC 2005).
The Cole Camp Prairies IBA is a focus area for initial project implementation by AM. Avian conservation targets include: Greater Prairie-chicken, Yellow Rail, Henslow?s Sparrow, Bell?s Vireo, Dickcissel, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Harrier, and Short-Eared Owl. Audubon Missouri?s focus for this IBA will include expanding habitat for grassland birds beyond the high quality remnants owned by conservation agencies. Plans include education for private landowners about prairie wildlife and incentives to encourage practices friendly to the avian conservation targets. The City of Cole Camp will figure prominently in developing programmatic connections to the prairie landscape for civic and educational purposes. Identified partners will include private landowners, the City of Cole Camp, MDC, numerous Audubon chapters, the Natural Resource Consevation Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, MPF, Quail Unlimited, and the Grassland Coalition.

Ownership

Six percent of the Sedalia Prairies IBA is dedicated conservation land, under the management of the MDC or TNC, protecting seven tallgrass prairie remnants. These lands include the following MDC areas: Grandfather Prairie CA (80 acres, 32 ha), Friendly Prairie CA (40 acres, 16 ha; acquired by MPF), Drover?s Prairie CA (80, acres, 32 ha, acquired by MPF), Paint Brush Prairie CA (314 acres, 127 ha), Mora CA (588 acres, 238 ha), and Hi Lonesome Prairie CA (620 acres, 251 ha). This IBA also includes TNC?s Goodnight Henry Prairie (35 acres, 14 ha).

Habitat

The Cole Camp Prairies IBA encompasses a complex of remnant tallgrass prairies that have become rare in the Midwest. Formerly dominated by gently rolling tallgrass prairie, exotic fescue pasture and cropland now form the vast habitat matrix for these few prairie remnants (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Woodlands are few, but woodland and shrubland encroachment may present a threat to open grassland habitats in the area (MDC 2005).

Stay abreast of Audubon

Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives.