Cuivre River State Park

About Cuivre River State Park

Location: On MO Highway 47, three miles east of Troy, MO
Size: 6,393 acres
Landowner: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri State Parks

Species of exotic invasives managed for: Garlic mustard, invasive bush honeysuckles, and European buckthorn are the top priorities because of their extent and severity. Autumn olive, sericea lespedeza, crown vetch, sweet clover and reed canary grass are scattered, or in scattered natural habitats, and control efforts are prioritized based on where they occur. Some species like burning bush, wintercreeper, and Japanese honeysuckle are beginning to show up in scattered pockets and will need control efforts going forward.

Current invasive management: Garlic mustard is primarily spot sprayed with 2% glyphosate in the spring (mostly April). For bush honeysuckle prescribed burning in woodlands is used to prevent its establishment, and additionally pulling, foliar spraying with 2% glyphosate, and cutting/spraying stumps with 25-30% glyphosate. European buckthorn and autumn olive are primarily controlled by cutting/spraying stumps with 30% triclopyr. Sericea lespedeza and crown vetch are spot sprayed with 2% triclopyr. Sweet clovers (both yellow and white) are primarily pulled when they occur in prairies and glades and reed canary grass is sprayed in one prairie site and pulled in a small sinkhole pond.

Results of management:  Garlic mustard control has been reasonably successful, keeping it confined to under 600 acres within the park and very significantly reducing its density within this area. Bush honeysuckle is exploding in areas surrounding the park; however, the prescribed burns are largely successful keeping it out of large portions of the park and other control efforts have been successful in some other locations. European buckthorn is bad in more disturbed habitats, but seems slow to become established in better quality woodlands and the combination of cutting and spraying and prescribed burns seems to be successful in keeping it under control. Autumn olive is not as abundant or widespread at this time, and the cutting and spraying does take care of the individuals treated, but overall it seems to be rather difficult to control. Treating sericea lespedeza, crown vetch, reed canary grass and sweet clovers in the scattered pockets of natural habitats they have invaded has generally been successful. These exotics have been eliminated or reduced from some sites, and all have been at least kept at low levels. Constant vigilance is required though, to catch reinvasions at an early stage. It is also apparent that prescribed burn units in the park promote more healthy natural communities that are more resilient to exotic species invasion.

Significant biological resources of the park: Cuivre River State Park is one of Missouri’s largest state parks, and one of the most significant natural resources in the east central region of the state. The park contains several thousand acres of woodlands, with small remnant prairies and limestone glades, and karst topography that includes sinkhole ponds, springs and caves. Over 730 native plant species are known, as well as 180 birds, 44 amphibians and reptiles, and 86 butterflies included within the list of over 2500 known invertebrates. At least 27 species are species of conservation concern in Missouri and one is federally endangered. Three natural areas cover 1968 acres (31%) of the park, plus there are two state park wilderness areas (2777 acres) and special ecological management areas cover 3935 acres (62% of the park).

All these irreplaceable natural resources absolutely depend on a significant and ongoing program for invasive exotic species control. Without these efforts thousands of acres of high quality natural communities within the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Region are at risk.


Biodiversity at Cuivre River

These sites are all threatened by invasive plants.

Bottomland woods with stream running through it and solid swatch of bright green grass growing along streambanks

Bottomland woods that are threatened by exotics.

Burned woodland along park road that was burned.

Burned woodland along park road that was burned.

Garlic mustard taking over woodland with log in foreground and all of the same plant growing through all frame

Garlic mustard taking over woodland.

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