Historically, the uplands around Anderson Conservation Area (CA) (at the north end of the IBA) were oak and mixed-hardwood woodland and forest (Nigh and Schroeder 2002), much of which remains in timber today. The rest of the Ted Shanks Alluvial complex IBA was bottomland mixed-hardwood and riverfront forest, with scattered prairies and marshes (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Today, the conservation areas occupying this alluvial plain contain bottomland timber, grassland, marsh, and cropland.
Seventy percent of the IBA is publicly owned conservation land, comprised of Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) managed lands. These include Anderson CA (1,067 acres, 432 ha), Dupont Reservation CA (1,270 acres, 514 ha), Ted Shanks CA (6,718 acres, 2,720 ha), and the Upper Mississippi CA (1,573 acres, 637 ha).
The area provides abundant migratory stopover and breeding habitat for water and forest birds. Breeding Pied-billed Grebes, King Rails, and Bald Eagles (at least two pairs nesting simultaneously) have been observed on the Ted Shanks Alluvial Complex IBA, and Least Bittern and Common Moorhen have been observed during their breeding seasons. There is also evidence of nesting for American Bittern and Bobolinks on Ted Shanks CA (Palmer and Palmer 2001).
MDC has plans for restoring bottomland forest and wetlands habitat at Ted Shanks CA, which were more widespread in the IBA before lock and dam construction by the US Army Corps of Engineers that raised river levels in the upper Mississippi River, and were also heavily damaged during the floods of 1993 and 1995. Reed canary grass continues to pose a problem for land managers in the area, and much effort is spent towards its? control.