The Mystic Grasslands IBA was formerly dominated by extensive tallgrass prairie, with some woodland and forested valleys (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Today it is mainly pasture and cropland, though Sullivan county has the highest acreage of private lands enrolled in warm-season-grass Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) plantings in the state (MDC 2005). None of the Mystic Grasslands IBA is in public ownership.

Ornithological Summary

Greater Prairie-Chickens still occur in the IBA, although their numbers have declined steeply over the past 65 years (MDC 2005). The abundant CRP grassland is also valuable to other grassland-nesting birds, such as Bobolink, Dickcissel, and Sedge Wren.

Conservation Issues

The Mystic Grasslands IBA has been identified by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC 2005) as the Mystic Plains Conservation Opportunity Area, and is also a Grassland Coalition Focus Area. The MDC Private Lands Cost Share Program, US Department of Agriculture?s CRP, Natural Resource Conservation Service Wildlife Habitat and Environmental Quality Incentives Programs, and National Wild Turkey Federation?s Wild Turkey Super Fund are among the many established funding sources available to assist landowners in grassland restoration and grassland bird conservation (MDC 2005). Existing grasslands should be maintained/restored through a combination of habitat management, including prescribed fire, application of herbicide to control sericea lespedeza and other invasive exotics, and removal of woody vegetation.

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