Historically the area was post oak savanna, possibly with prairie openings, and mixed-oak woodland on rougher terrain (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). In a landscape otherwise dominated by fescue pasture and second-growth woodlots, White River Trace Conservation Area (CA) (managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation[MDC], comprises the IBA) has examples of savanna and prairie habitats.
A Northern Harrier nest was recently found on the White River Trace CA, which attests to the improving quality of sizable prairie habitat, as this is a grassland-area-sensitive species (Walk and Warner 1999). Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow, Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers, and Yellow-breasted Chat also occur on the area (Palmer and Palmer 2001).
The White River Trace Conservation Area IBA is an initial project focus to Audubon Missouri (AM). MDC is working to restore the area to its original interlacing complex of prairie, savanna, and woodland habitat. AM?s conservation targets include Blue-winged Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Red-headed Woodpecker, Bell?s Vireo, Dickcissel, Henslow?s Sparrow, and Northern Harrier. The project will focus on expanding the bird monitoring program at White River Trace CA and increasing outreach and education on bird conservation issues in the area, in partnership with Ozark Rivers Audubon Society, MDC, and the L-A-D Foundation.