Red-shouldered hawk and chick at Shaw Nature Reserve in Missouri.
Red-shouldered hawk Red-shouldered hawk and chick at Shaw Nature Reserve in Missouri. © Bill Duncan

Stories in Missouri

Protecting Habitats and Species Under Pressure

Find out how TNC is protecting and restoring biodiversity in Missouri.

Research suggests that by 2050 nearly one-quarter of the world’s species could be headed for extinction due to climate change and loss of healthy habitat. As biodiversity continues to decline, so will nature’s ability to contribute to people’s quality of life.

We are currently putting more demand on our natural resources than the planet can sustain. This puts natural habitats—and the wildlife that is dependent on these beautiful landscapes—under extreme pressure.

While TNC is an organization that works toward whole-system solutions, encouraging compatible land use, and creating resilience within a changing climate—our North Star remains the protection of the rich tapestry of biodiversity that both people and nature need to thrive.

What TNC is Doing

In Missouri, we are investing in nature-based solutions that stabilize our streambanks to reduce excess sediment and nutrients from entering the water, while providing critical habitat for aquatic species. These projects are happing across the state from the Elk River in Southwest Missouri to LaBarque Creek near St. Louis and Huzzah Creek in mid-Missouri.

Through our sustainable agriculture strategy, we are implementing stream buffer projects that increase the connectivity of habitats, restoring migratory corridors and protecting the quality of waterways that our communities and native species rely upon. Along with partners, we have launched a 4R nutrient reduction strategy to improve soil health and reduce harmful nutrient runoff from entering our rivers and streams. 

Staff conducting a controlled burn on Goodnight-Henry preserve.
Goodnight-Henry Staff conducting a controlled burn on Goodnight-Henry preserve. © Tom Fielden/TNC

In places like the Grand River Grasslands in Northwestern Missouri and throughout the Ozarks, we are protecting large blocks of land to preserve biodiversity and help source populations of sensitive species to thrive. Stewarding these landscapes using controlled burns and invasive species removal, we can reduce carbon, restore habitats and increase biodiversity.

We’ve implemented innovative financial mechanisms like the Ozarks Conservation Buyer Fund, which helps us protect critical habitat in cost-effective ways that stretch your donations and our limited resources further.

Beyond our protected acres, we also understand the value in inspiring others to protect biodiversity. Through collaborations and partnerships, we will equip ourselves and our partners with the conservation science and techniques necessary to maximize every protected acre—for people and for nature. 

Listed as an endangered species in 1989, the American burying beetle can be found at the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie and Oka' Yanahli Preserves in Oklahoma.
American Burying Beetle The Saint Louis Zoo's Center for American Burying Beetle Conservation, TNC, and other conservation partners reintroduced Zoo-bred American burying beetles – for the first time ever in Missouri -- on June 5, 2012, on TNC’s Wah' Kon-Tah Prairie in Southwest Missouri. © TNC

Protecting Missouri's Endangered Species

Bringing back the Topeka shiner
In partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation, TNC launched an effort in 2013 to restore the Topeka Shiner—a federally endangered fish species—into the headwaters of the Grand River Grasslands in northern Missouri.

Restoring the prairie chicken population at Dunn Ranch Prairie.
For over 7 years, TNC has been working with conservation partners and neighboring states to restore a healthy prairie chicken population to Missouri. The program has had success protecting prairie chicken feeding and mating habitat at Dunn Ranch Prairie.  

Returning the American burying beetle to Missouri soil
On June 5th, 2012, American burying beetles became the first federally endangered species to be reintroduced in Missouri. Prior to this reintroduction, the beetles hadn't been seen in the state since the 1970s.