Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area is in north-central Lawrence County, 12 miles northwest of Mt. Vernon.
In 1980, the Conservation Department purchased 246 acres to maintain and protect riparian habitat along Spring River. Between 1980 and 1986, an additional 4,113 acres were purchased from six landowners, increasing the area to its present size. Originally named after Spring River, which flows unchannelized through the area's southern portion, the area was renamed in 1983 in honor of the late conservation commissioner, Robert E. Talbot from Joplin.
Talbot CA lands vary from the rich bottomland soil along Spring River to rocky, upland soils. The area was formerly a cattle ranch. Presently, the area is 69 percent open land and 31 percent wooded. The area contains a four-acre lake, a seven-acre lake, and numerous ponds.
The Conservation Department has sharecrop agreements with local farmers to provide food for wildlife. Harvested crops also benefit the local farm economy. Some of the timbered areas on Talbot CA have been thinned in recent years to restore the savanna and woodland natural communities that historically existed there. Periodic prescribed burning is used to maintain these restored natural communities. Prescribed burning is also an important management tool used on the area to benefit quail, rabbit, wild turkey, and a host of other wildlife species. Talbot Conservation Area is a designated Quail Emphasis Area and management strategies focus on providing habitat for bobwhite quail. Cattle grazing occurs from April - August on portions of the area. The grazing program is used to improve habitat for grassland obligate wildlife including Bobwhite quail.