Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Stotts City, take Highway 97 north, then Highway 96 east 1 mile.


This area contains old fields, grassland, cropland, woodlands, savanna, prairie, and wetlands. Facilities/features: a fishing jetty, fishable lakes and a permanent stream (Spring River).

About This Area

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.

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bicycling  10.5 miles of trail open to bicycling. Bicycles also allowed on gravel service roads. 
Bird Watching  Heron rookery located on Spring River on the area. Diverse birding opportunities available on this large area. Designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Misssouri. Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  No amenities provided. 
Canoeing  On Spring River  
Field Trials with Special Use Permit   
Fishing - Bass Good population.  
Fishing - Catfish Good population.  
Fishing - Sunfish Good population.  
Hiking  More than 10 miles of trail available for hiking.  
Horseback Riding  10.5 miles of trail open to horseback riding. 
Hunting-Deer Good population. Deer regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Dove Good population. Fields managed for doves. Daily hunter use card must be filled out during first month of season.  
Hunting-Quail Good population. Daily hunter check in required. 
Hunting-Rabbit Good population.  
Hunting-Squirrel Good population.  
Hunting-Turkey Good population. Turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey Booklet for current regulations.  
Hunting-Waterfowl-Open Hunting Fair population. 30 acre managed wetland on area. 

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Boat Ramp - Lake - Other 7 Acre Lake  Gravel ramp. 
Camping Area - Individual Campsites   No amenities provided. 
Fishing Jetty/Platformaccessible7 Acre Lake   
Parking Lotaccessible 22   
Privy/Restroom   Located at the headquartes.  

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond 7 Acre Lake 7.00 acres With asphalt parking and fishing jetty 
Fishing Lake or Pond 4 Acre Lake 4.00 acres Persistent nuisance vegetation problems 
Fishless Pond  31 6.90 acres  
Non-Stocked Pond  10 21.00 acres Shallow ponds that contain fish and provide variable fishing opportunities. 
Stream - Intermittent Stahl Creek 1.00 miles  
Stream - Intermittent Dry Fork Creek 1.25 miles  
Stream - Permanent Spring River 2.00 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Old Field 1264.00  
Forest and Woodland 947.00  
Wetland 50.00  
Lakes/Ponds 30.24  
Crop Land 695.00  
Savanna 300.00  
Native Prairie 10.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 1065.00  
Total Area Acres:4361.24 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
Spring River Nature Trail (Moderate) Hiking (Non-Interpretive) 1.80 
South multi-use trail (Moderate) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike/Horse) 5.40 
North multi-use trail (Easy) Multi-Use (Hike/Bike/Horse) 5.80 

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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