On Endangered Species
Habitat restoration in Missouri is helping endangered species.
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law to protect plants and animals from extinction. On the heels of its 40th anniversary, The Nature Conservancy looks at why this historic act is important.
Much of our approach deals with habitat restoration, and species recovery is a large part of that. Our work in restoring habitat at various sites, such as Dunn Ranch
Prairies, brings with it direct research and management of the species found at these places - many of which are found on the endangered list.
One such species is the American burying beetle
, which was listed as endangered in 1999. As part of a five-year effort to remove it from the Endangered Species list, the beetle was brought to The Nature Conservancy’s Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie in 2012. The first federally endangered species to be reintroduced in Missouri, the beetle, which hadn’t been seen since the 1970s, is now thriving at the prairie.
The Topeka shiner
, a small, silvery minnow, is another endangered species that the Conservancy is helping. The shiner was reintroduced this fall at Dunn Ranch Prairie to enhance and stabilize the fish’s numbers in Missouri — a primary goal listed in the State Recovery Plan for this species.
Another example, the Ozark hellbender
, is a large salamander whose habitat depends on the health of Ozark rivers and streams. The Conservancy is actively working to improve Ozark stream quality through easements, research, and other work in Ozark waterways.
The Nature Conservancy conserves lands and waters on which all life depends, taking all components of an ecosystem into account, whether the habitat itself or the species that live in it. This work supports the Endangered Species Act by recovering and conserving species that are in danger of extinction.