The Corps of Engineers at Long Branch has natural resource management responsibility on approximately 1,190 acres of public land. Resource management efforts focus on habitat improvement of both forest and grassland environments.
When the first settlers of European descent came to northeast Missouri in the 1820’s there were impressive stands of native grasses and large tracts of timber. Most of the native grasses were plowed under to make way for crops and eventually many fields were planted in cool season grasses. Natural resource management efforts by the Corps at Long Branch are for the reestablishment of native grasses that includes both seeding and prescribed burning on approximately 330 acres. Most grassy areas contain some remnants of the original stands of native grasses including little bluestem, indiangrass, cordgrass, and barnyard grass. Wildflowers such as prairie blazing star, purple coneflower, asters, yarrow, ox-eye daisy, common sunflower, and indian paintbrush are also present.
There are approximately 700 acres of woodlands managed by the Corps at Long Branch. This predominately oak/hickory forest is in various stages of maturity. Some forested areas appear to have been in trees since before the first settlers arrived while other areas that were once fields and pastures are now reverting back to forest. Species representative of the area include post oak, white oak, pin oak, shingle oak, swamp white oak, hickory, black locust, honey locust, elm and eastern red cedar. Corps resource management efforts include reforestation accomplished by the planting of seedlings and selective thinning to remove undesirable species.