What is Left of the Prairie?
It is estimated that less than 0.1% of Iowa's original prairie remains. A majority of Iowa was once covered with prairie. The few scattered remnants left are often overlooked in the vast sea of row crops and non-native species that have been planted everywhere. Some remnants exist in pastures that have never been plowed, some in road ditches, and some in pioneer cemeteries. Work is ongoing to identify, and hopefully protect, those few remnants that remain.
Go to our Pre-Settlement and Current Landcover page to see the historic extent of prairie and other vegetation communities in your area. There are also maps of present vegetation types in your area.
This site is offered to help people get in touch with their environment. In order for people to care about preserving what's left, they must first know what they have. If people are to care about the plight of the prairie, they must be able to see, and if not understand it, at least revel in its' beauty.
Remember to ask permission if a remnant is on private land. Prairie plants are wonderful to view in the wild. Removing them from their native habitat robs all of us of their beauty and our natural heritage. They are also hard to transplant, and most often die. Therefore, they are best left in their native state for all to enjoy, so please don't remove any plants from a remnant.
Do you own, or have located a prairie remnant? Would like to showcase that special place to the people of Iowa? Contact us and we will put it on this site.
Iowa Prairies by Agency or Organization
Not all of these areas are prairies, but all harbor some of Iowa's rarest plants and ecosystems.
Iowa State Preserves - Managed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
National Wildlife Refuges in Iowa - Managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Prairies Listed by Iowa County
This is a list of prairies that have a webpage currently available for that site.
Black Hawk County
Des Moines County
Neil Smith Refuge (Formerly Walnut Creek)