prairie chicken

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Photo gallery of Missouri prairie species
The Missouri Grasslands Coalition
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Where to see prairies

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prairie chicken tracks
The Missouri Grasslands Coalition
prairie chicken tracks

A decade ago, Missouri had 10,000 greater prairie-chickens. By 1998, that number had shrunk to fewer than 1,000 birds, causing the prairie-chicken to be placed on the state endangered species list. This alarming drop signals the decline of high quality grassland habitat, home to not only the prairie-chicken but thousands of other bird, insect, plant, mammal and amphibian species.

The immediate danger of losing habitat for the prairie-chicken was the impetus for the Missouri Prairie Foundation now in its 34th year to lead a greater effort for improving grassland habitat in Missouri. In 1998, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) spearheaded the formation of the Grasslands Coalition, bringing government agencies, conservation organizations, hunting groups and private landowners together to pool resources and explore ways to expand and improve this grassland resource.

The Coalition identified nine focus areas with remnant populations of greater prairie-chickens. These areas, ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 acres, have the potential for making grassland improvements on a landscape scale. This undertaking will require financial incentives to assist farmers and landowners with the cost of implementing management practices friendly to grassland wildlife. Some of the practices needed are conversion of cropland to grass, tree and brush removal and conversion of fescue to native warm-season grasses.

The Lek Trek will serve to introduce the Grasslands Coalition to Missourians. It will also help citizens understand the importance of the Coalition's work. Long after the Lek Trek has passed, however, the Grasslands Coalition will continue its work of obtaining funds and implementing improvements on Missouri's grasslands.

Click here for a listing of Missouri Grasslands Coalition Members.

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Would you like to become involved in a Grasslands Coalition project? If you live in the vicinity of one of the nine Grasslands Coalition Focus Areas and would like to become involved in a Grasslands Coalition project, please contact Judy Gray at: