Mussel Fork Conservation Area

Driving Directions

From Brookfield, take Highway 36 east 10 miles to the area.


This area contains cropland, old fields, grassland, woodlands, and two small wetlands. Area includes four fishable ponds and a permanent stream (Mussel Fork Creek).

About This Area

This area fronts about two miles of Mussel Fork Creek.

The area's rolling topography is typical of this region of the state which is generally marked by southward draining, closely spaced, sub-parallel streams resulting in a general pattern of narrow, linear ridges and wooded stream valleys.

Historic conditions included plant communities that followed the elevational gradient with prairies occurring on the higher, drier sites blending with oak savannas on the ridges, and more densely forested areas along the steeper slopes. Low lands adjacent to Mussel Fork Creek were prone to flooding and included a complex pattern of wet prairie, marshes, oxbow lakes and river bank timber. These natural communities were home to a wide diversity of plants and animals.

Management emphasis on the area is aimed toward enhancing the processes that result in a diverse prairie-savanna-woodland mosaic. Woodlands are a type of wooded community characterized as having a fairly open canopy cover, a poorly developed understory, and a diverse herbaceous layer of forbs, grasses, and sedges. Woodlands contain fire-tolerant trees, often with wide spreading crowns, and a diverse ground flora that may include species such as little bluestem, wild rye, bottle brush grass, blazing star, coneflower, and a variety of sedges.

In northern Missouri, most woodland communities have been degraded due to extensive logging, fire suppression, overgrazing, and other disturbances. Woodland restoration practices used on the area include thinning and prescribed fire.  Thinning removes some of the existing trees which provides a more open canopy and allows sunlight to reach the ground. Prescribed fire is essential to restoring a diverse woodland community as it suppresses small diameter woody vegetation, removes leaf and woody litter, and stimulates herbaceous plant growth resulting in a rich ground flora of forbs, grasses, and sedges.

Well managed woodlands provide excellent habitat for wildlife. Species commonly associated with woodlands include white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bobwhite quail, red-headed woodpecker, Coopers' hawk, Indiana bat, three-toed box turtle, and eastern gray treefrog. 

General Information




Owned by MDC

(Activity Explanations)
(Population Definition)
Bird Watching  Get the Audubon Society of Missouri Conservation Area Bird List.  
Camping - Individual Campsites  Camping is allowed on or adjacent to area parking lots. See area map. No amenities provided. 
Canoeing  Mussel Fork Creek provides opportunity, access by hand launching and variable flow (either due to drought or flooding) can make canoeing difficult.  
Fishing - Bass Fair population.  
Fishing - Catfish Fair population.  
Fishing - Sunfish Fair population. Bluegill on area ponds.  
Hiking  No designated trails but mowed service roads provide opportunity. 
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 Fair population.  
Hunting-Quail Fair population.  
Hunting-Rabbit Fair 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.  
Trapping with Special Use Permit  Special Use Permit required - Chris Freeman 660/646-6122.  

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Conservation Department Facilities
Facility Item Name Count Comments
Camping Area - Individual Campsites  10   
Parking Lot  10   

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Feature Item Name Count Size Comments
Fishing Lake or Pond  4.30 acres Fishable ponds include Pond #1 (0.3 ac), Pond #2 (2 ac), Pond #3 (0.7 ac), and Pond #4 (1.3 ac). See area map for locations.  
Named Wetland Arcadia 20.00 acres  
Named Wetland Mussel Fork 28.00 acres  
Non-Stocked Pond  2.00 acres  
Stream - Permanent Mussel Fork Creek 4.00 miles  

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Land Cover Types
Land Type Acres Comments
Savanna 129.00  
Old Field 325.00  
Lakes/Ponds 33.00  
Wetland 47.00  
Forest and Woodland 1322.00  
Grassland (non-prairie) 230.44  
Crop Land 354.00  
Total Area Acres:2440.44 

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Designated Trails
Trail Name Trail Type Length
No Designated Trails

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Shooting Range General Information

This area has no shooting ranges.

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