Missouri: B.K. Leach Conservation Area Enhancement

Since 2001, Ducks Unlimited and its partners have impacted a total of more than 4,000 acres within Missouri's B.K. Leach Conservation Area. Between 2001 and 2002, 2,909 acres of wetlands were acquired and restored within the area. More recent and ongoing work includes the restoration and enhancement of 1,025 acres of palustrine emergent wetland habitat and 223 acres of scrub-shrub wetlands. Engineers removed and reconstructed levees and berms in this area, as well as installing pumps and other water-control structures.

The B.K. Leach project area consists of river sloughs, side channels and some moist-soil and shallow-emergent wetlands. These wetlands lie at the heart of the Confluence Region of eastern Missouri, an area that has lost 90 percent of its historic wetlands to date. The Confluence contains more than 290,000 floodplain acres and more than 250 species of waterfowl, waterbirds and neotropical songbirds migrate through or utilize Confluence wetland habitat throughout their life cycles.

This project will directly benefit large numbers of waterfowl hunters and birdwatchers as well. The area is coveted by waterfowlers, especially given its proximity to St. Louis and adjacent metropolitan areas. B.K. Leach CA welcomes approximately 5,000 annual visitors, about half of whom are waterfowl and upland/small game hunters.

This project was funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant.

Partners: Wetlands America Trust, Missouri Department of Conservation, St. Louis Audubon Society, North American Wetlands Conservation Council, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, American Land Conservancy, Mary Leach Trust, Forrest Keeling Nursery, Waterfowl USA, Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, LOHR Distributing Company, Audubon Center at Riverlands – Audubon Missouri, C. Hager & Sons Hinge Manufacturing Company and Ducks Unlimited