Missouri Department of Conservation – Southwest Regional Office
Points of Interest:
The largest publicly owned expanse of claypan (hardpan) prairie.
See a variety of upland prairie and prairie wetland plants.
Listen for the chorus of rare prairie mole crickets on warm spring evenings.
Natural Features Description:
This nearly level prairie’s soils contain a clayplan at a depth of 15-20 inches below the soil surface. The claypan impedes permeability of the soil. These soils are often saturated in the late winter and spring and then become dry by summer. This seasonal pattern of wetness and dryness impacts the species composition and productivity of this prairie community type. For example, certain typical upland prairie species such as pale purple coneflower are absent from this site while other others such as prairie blazing star and rattlesnake master occur regularly here. In the lower parts of the landscape and around the artificial pond occur a number of sedge, spikerush and rush species. Over 250 native plant species occur here, mainly perennial species of forbs and grasses. In the winter look for northern harriers while the summer months bring the dickcissel, field sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow, sedge wren and eastern meadowlark. Wah-Sha-She is an Osage name.
This natural area is owned by The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected over 145,000 acres of critical lands and waters in the state. The Nature Conservancy has been and continues to be a valuable conservation partner in the effort to conserve Missouri’s natural communities. For more information visit the Nature Conservancy website or call 314-968-1105.
From Asbury, head north on Highway 171 for a little over 2 miles then turn right (east) on to Highway M. Head east on Highway M for 0.8 mile and then turn left (north) and proceed a short distance to the parking area on the left (west).