SBH Sept2015-3

On June 12, 2015, one of the few unplowed, native prairies remaining in the greater Kansas City region was auctioned. The Platte Land Trust took a bold step and participated in the auction. We had the winning bid! The quick action of the Platte Land Trust (PLT), with the financial backing and support of Burroughs Audubon of Greater KC, the Missouri Prairie Foundation, and other Kansas City area conservation groups, enabled this action and resulted in the protection of Snowball Hill Prairie. The property is  safe from the threat of future development. The 74 acres includes 24 acres of native prairie, an old farm-house area, and agriculture land that gives access to the prairie.

Snowball Hill – named for the shape of the hill and how it looks covered in snow or white prairie flowers. Located in Cass County near Harrisonville, Snowball Hill Prairie has a large diversity of prairie plants due to the topography providing both mesic and deep soil habitats. Many plant species restricted to original prairies have already been identified on the property. A population of the interior bluegrass is present, a S1 listed species (State Critically Imperiled). Other prairie species present include Prairie Blazing Star, Rough Blazing Star, Sweet Coneflower, White Prairie Clover, Compass Plant, Ashy Sunflower, Michigan lily, four species of phlox and numerous sedges and rushes.

In 1987, Missouri Department of Conservation botanist Tim Smith wrote:

“Snowball Hill is probably the most diverse and scenic prairie located in the six-county KC Inventory area. At 21.0 acres, is also one of the largest remaining unplowed prairie tracts. The steep topography creates a gradient of moisture classes within the tract. The wet-mesic portion of the prairie could yet yield listed plant species historically known from similar habitats in the region.”

The Platte Land Trust transferred title of the Snowball Hill  property to the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) to protect and steward the land in perpetuity. PLT and MPF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together for the long-term protection of this prairie property. PLT has committed to raising a portion of the funds ($125,000), securing volunteers for stewardship, and other activities.

Many thanks to the PLT supporters whose generous gifts have helped make the purchase of Snowball Hill a reality: Burroughs Audubon, Deborah Borek, Gary Tegtmeier, Ginny Moore, Mary Nemecek, Ed Casey, Five Star Lifestyles Inc, and PLT members.

Visit our website for more information on Snowball Hill Prairie and how you can contribute to conservation in the greater KC region.