Schell Osage Conservation Area is the final of five Golden Anniversary Wetlands Initiative projects aimed at rehabilitating Missouri Department of Conservation's oldest wetland conservation areas.

Managers at these conservation areas have faced an array of challenges as the wetlands reach their 50th anniversary. The original infrastructure has outlived its reasonable life expectancy.

Extreme landscape changes have resulted devastating effects on certain aspects of these wetlands. Major restoration efforts have been necessary to restore the ability to manage these areas.

Launched in 2004 and continuing through 2017, the Golden Anniversary Wetlands Initiative follows these objectives:

  • Devise and finalize plans for rehabilitating Missouri Department of Conservation's oldest wetland management areas.
  • Incorporate 21st century wetland and ecological science into restoration approaches while avoiding a "repair" mentality in planning needed restorations.
  • Assemble diverse partnerships necessary to fund the efforts.
  • Implement the improvements/modifications over the twelve-year period from 2005 to 2017.

Schell Osage Conservation Area lies within the floodplain of the Osage River in St. Clair and Vernon counties. Its biggest challenge lies in the wake of Truman Reservoir. This large U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project has caused floods of greater frequency, elevation and duration, resulting in major changes to the natural hydrology.

Project planning efforts are underway and restoring the wetland functions and values is an overarching goal. The two-phased project will see a new pump station and an enhanced and restored wetland habitat in the pools.

The Missouri Department of Conservation plans to fund installation of the new pump station, enabling DU to use funds as match to secure a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to support Phase II construction. Construction is expected to start in 2016.

This project represents another Missouri partnership effort, focused on ensuring Shell Osage is able to provide critical migrations and wintering ground habitat targeting wetland dependent wildlife for another 50 years.