Many conservation areas are known for a dominant habitat feature or certain fish or animal species. Capps Creek Conservation Area (CA) in eastern Newton County, in southwest Missouri, however, is characterized by a variety of wildlife habitats and an even greater variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.
Capps Creek CA covers 721 acres in the Springfield Plateau Section of the Ozark Natural Division. The area includes abundant stream resources, about 200 acres of woodlands, over 400 acres of grasslands or old fields, a variety of small crop fields, and even a five-acre wetland that floods seasonally depending on the water level in Capps Creek.
The grasslands in the area have been largely restored to native grass species and are managed with a combination of prescribed fire, light disking, and invasive species control. These areas provide habitat for bobwhite quail and rabbits and excellent nesting cover for a recovering wild turkey population.
Woodlands are managed with timber stand improvement to increase tree health and mast production and prescribed fire to increase the amount of herbaceous vegetation at the ground level. This improves brood-rearing habitat for wild turkeys – a critical component for increasing wild turkey numbers.
Crop fields are maintained through sharecropping agreements with a local farmer with an emphasis on sound soil conservation and maximum wildlife benefit. Various food plots are also planted including an excellent sunflower management program.
Stream and riparian resources in the area include approximately 0.4 miles of both banks of Capps Creek, another 1.4 miles of Capps Creek on one bank, and 0.2 miles of the right downstream bank of Shoal Creek.
LOCATION — Capps Creek CA is located 7.5 miles west of Monett on Highway 60 then 1.75 miles south on Wallaby Road to its junction with Jolly Mill Drive.
HISTORY — Capps Creek CA was purchased by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) in the early 2000s and was part of a large dairy farm prior to MDC ownership. The area sits across the road from Jolly Mill.