Missourians re-establishing natural prairies

Several different partners are working together to re-establish natural prairies across...
Several different partners are working together to re-establish natural prairies across northeast Missouri.(WGEM)
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 8:45 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HANNIBAL (WGEM) - More parts of Northeast Missouri may show more color in the Spring as conservationists work together to help re-establish natural prairies.

One such area is next to the Hannibal Regional Airport where Hannibal Parks and Recreation teamed up with the department of conservation and the Mississippi Hills Master Naturalist program to establish a prairie.

The prairie is set to be dedicated within the next few weeks.

The field is part of a plan to start seven prairies every year for seven years across Northeast Missouri.

The organizations are working to expand prairie coverage as far South as Frankford, as far North as Maywood and as far west as Hunnewell.

Master naturalist member Bob Kendrick said redeveloping the prairies helps to tackle big problems.

“We’re in several different crises,” said Kendrick. “One is we’re in a beneficial insect crisis with our bees and with our pollinators... and also a brown bird crisis so we need a lot of these beneficial insects.”

He said the prairie planting process is a slow one, with three main steps: weep, creep, and leap.

At first the prairie looks dull with regard to plant life and may make one weep. After two years, more plant life will begin to creep into the prairie. After three years, the prairie will leap to life and be full of color.

Kendrick said the work harkens back to the past when prairies ruled much of the Midwest.

“We were part of a 14.5-million-acre prairie for some 8,000 years. So we were in a normal balance, and we’re trying to get back to that balance with our beneficial insects and our soil uses,” said Kendrick.

He said all seven prairie projects are already set for next year.

However, he encourages anyone with extra private land to get involved in the process by reaching out to the Missouri Department of Conservation or the Mississippi Hills Master Naturalists.

You can find more information here.

Copyright 2022 WGEM. All rights reserved.