The Reform Conservation Area (CA) was purchased by AmerenUE for the purpose of producing electricity from the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant. The majority of the area is leased to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to provide quality recreational opportunities, including hiking, nature study, hunting, and fishing to citizens of Missouri.
The Reform CA is a 6,759-acre public use area located in Southeastern Callaway County. A 512 acre, centrally located parcel where AmerenUE's Callaway Nuclear Power Plant occurs is withheld from public use and is surrounded by an obvious fence.
Reform CA contains a diversity of land types, including openlands (today primarily cropland, pastureland, and other grasslands), forest and woodlands, and a very small portion of the Missouri River floodplain.
The land that comprises Reform CA has a unique history. The northern portion of Reform CA encompasses the bulk of the historic Coats' Prairie. Coats' Prairie, named after Reverend William Coats, was one of the earlier settlements in Callaway County. William Coats settled on the Prairie in 1817 and by 1830 most of the Prairie was occupied by several families with small homesteads (40 - 160 acres). Consequently, most of Coats' Prairie has a long history of conversion from native prairie to agriculture and development. The southern portion of Reform, which was primarily a matrix of prairie, woodland, and forest, was generally settled by the 1860's. Although not as extensively, it has also undergone conversion from natural communities to agriculture and other development.
The "town" of Reform, which was located in the northeastern portion of the CA, was settled in 1830. Although Reform was never officially platted as a town, by 1884, the area had mail service, three churches, a saw and flour mill, a general store, blacksmith, wagonmaker, and a population of 150.
In the early 1970's, AmerenUE purchased much of the Coats' Prairie region to begin developing a nuclear power plant. By 1975, AmerenUE had completed the purchase of present-day Reform CA and had built its Callaway Nuclear Power Plant. In 1975, AmerenUE entered into a cooperative agreement with the MDC to manage the majority of the property as a public use area. The initial plan called for development and implementation of fish, forest, and wildlife management plans, as well as several forms of public recreation. This cooperative arrangement has continued to the present time.
The Reform Conservation Area is a popular destination for deer hunting (archery methods only) and turkey hunting. The area is also known as a good place to collect blackberries in the summer months.