Weldon Spring Site
Howell Prairie and Native Plant Education Garden
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Howell Prairie is a 150-acre area seeded with more than 80 species of prairie grasses and wildflowers surrounding the Weldon Spring Disposal Site in St. Charles County, Missouri. This emerging prairie, named for the leader of a group of early settlers, is one of the largest native plant gardens in the St. Louis area.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is revitalizing the Weldon Spring Site to a natural and native ecosystem as part of its long-term commitment as a responsible steward of the land. The design for the prairie began in the early 1990s when native grasses were deemed to be the best solution for restoration of the site following remediation. In spring 2002, the first prairie grasses and forbs were planted. Development of the prairie as an outdoor classroom continued in 2004 with the planting of approximately 80 species of native forbs and prairie grasses, overseeding activities, and measures to control invasive exotic weeds.
The Native Plant Educational Garden, an 8-acre area of plants native to Missouri, was also created at the site. Walking paths meander through the garden that hosts signs identifying individual plants. An advisory group, the Howell Prairie Council, provided insight about suitable trees, shrubs, and plants to be included in the garden.
Visitors, local residents, and students can also hike or bike the Hamburg Trail through the site, go to the top of the 75-foot-high disposal cell to view the prairie in bloom at various times of the year, and visit the Weldon Spring Interpretive Center.
Prominent Prairie Forbs Planted at Howell Prairie