GRHA Moves Forward to Close on Future Floodplain Conservation and Education Area
In 2022, Great Rivers Habitat Alliance embarked on an exciting new venture to protect more than 181 acres of floodplain habitat along the Mississippi River and create the GRHA Foster-Rollins Floodplain Conservation and Education Area. This property is just south of St. Louis and adjoining Cliff Cave County Park and will be the largest property owned by GRHA.
Late in 2022, the properties owners, Tom Rollins and George Foster, approached GRHA with the idea of conserving the property by selling the property to GRHA at a significant savings. Great Rivers Habitat Alliance proposed the creation of a conservation and educational showcase on the 181-acres of floodplain designed to meet the mission of GRHA and celebrate the legacy of current owners, George Foster and Thomas Rollins. This site possesses aesthetic views of the Mississippi River, the bluffs, and a biologically diverse floodplain environment adjacent to and within the Cliff Cave Natural Heritage County Park. The Foster-Rollins Floodplain Conservation and Education Area goal is to connect people to the Mississippi River and emphasize Americas big river floodplains. The property will highlight river floodplain best use practices including wetland, grassland and bottomland hardwood habitat restoration, agriculture, recreation and natural wildlife habitat management. GRHA will maintain agricultural operations while restoring some existing agriculture to wetland habitat and improve existing natural habitats for wildlife through prairie and bottomland hardwood restoration, as well as improved management practices. These lands will create an outdoor oasis for people and wildlife demonstrating how green spaces are important to quality of life. The area will be open to the public and managed to enhance the adjacent public parks opportunities. An existing multi-use recreational trail on the property makes it highly accessible.
Current plans are to develop education/outreach kiosks, viewing/camera blinds, and use the property for environmental programing, including opportunities such as use as an outdoor classroom by local and state education institutions.
GRHA’s highest priority is to protect and restore floodplain wetlands in the Confluence and near St. Louis. Floodplain wetlands provide critical habitat for over 250 species of birds, including migratory waterfowl, wading birds, and neo-tropical migrant songbirds. The region also has some of the highest concentrations of wintering bald eagles in the contiguous 48 states.
The Conservation Fund has initially acquired the land with the assistance of a lead donation by the Mysun Charitable Trust and will hold the land until all funds raised for the acquisition are available. The land will then be transferred to GRHA in early 2024.
You can help support this effort by making a DONATION HERE.
Stay tuned for more information as this exciting opportunity continues to develop!