The Southeast Missouri Bottomlands IBA historically was dominated by bottomland forest / swamp, with some prairie and marsh lands (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Today, there persists some tracts of publicly and privately owned bottomland forest, amidst the predominate cropland in the surrounding landscape. Much of the area was drained for cropland.
Thirty-four percent of the IBA is publicly-owned conservation land, including Big Oak Tree State Park (SP) (Missouri Department of Natural Resources [MDNR]; 1,029 acres, 417 ha), and three Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) landholdings: Donaldson Point Conservation Area (CA) (5,743 acres, 2,325 ha), Seven Island CA (1,425 acres, 577 ha), and Ten Mile Pond CA (3,757 acres, 1,521 ha).
The IBA presents some of the last remaining stands of bottomland and swamp forests in the Mississippi Alluvial Basin, which provide habitat for migrant and breeding birds. Bald Eagles have nested at two locations (simultaneous nest attempts) near Donaldson Point CA, and observed at Big Oak Tree SP during the breeding season. Interior Least Tern have been sighted on Ten Mile Pond CA, but probably do not breed there. Singing male Swainson?s Warblers have been observed at Donaldson Point CA in recent years, and had been found nesting at Big Oak Tree SP, but haven?t been seen there since 1976 (Palmer and Palmer 2001). Hooded and Prothonotary Warblers also occur at Big Oak Tree SP during their breeding seasons (Palmer and Palmer 2001).
The Southeast Missouri Bottomlands IBA is encompassed by MDC?s (2005) River Bends Conservation Opportunity Area. Conservation challenges identified by MDC for this area include needs to increase bottomland forest, impediments to natural flooding, and developing partnerships with operators of private forest lands. The Wetland Reserve Program needs promotion to local landowners.
Thirty-four percent of the IBA is publicly-owned conservation land, including Big Oak Tree SP (MDNR; 1,029 acres, 417 ha), and three MDC landholdings: Donaldson Point CA (5,743 acres, 2,325 ha), Seven Island CA (1,425 acres, 577 ha), and Ten Mile Pond CA (3,757 acres, 1,521 ha).