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Tallgrass Prairie Remnants. All that is left. USFWS GRANT. http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/US/2013_Sept.shtm This website will take you to the page that announces the 2014 awards for wildlife habitat grants given by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

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usfws grant
  • http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/US/2013_Sept.shtm
  • This website will take you to the page that announces the 2014 awards for wildlife habitat grants given by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • This project is in the Cedar and Wapsipinicon river valleys and protects and rehabilitates 3,000 acres (which is significant for Iowa).
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd-lKJfnBh4 (American Prairie Preserve)
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNfwsSgK-18 (Flint Hills Oklahoma)
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hujjJ0V1sM (Broken Kettle in northwest Iowa).
largest tallgrass prairies in iowa
Largest Tallgrass Prairies in Iowa
  • Reconstruction – Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge outside of Des Moines (http://www.fws.gov/refuge/neal_smith/). This is the largest prairie reconstruction that has been tried in Iowa.

It is on the site where a nuclear power plant was going to be built in the 90s.

nature conservancy s broken kettle grassland northwest of sioux city
Nature Conservancy’s Broken Kettle Grassland Northwest of Sioux City
  • http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/iowa/placesweprotect/broken-kettle-grasslands-preserve.xml
  • The preserve is about 3,000 acres and is considered Iowa’s largest remaining tallgrass prairie. The majority of the prairie is reconstructed though it does have the largest block of virgin prairie in Iowa.
  • Found in the northern portion of the Loess Hills.
what is a remnant
What is a remnant?
  • Prairie remnants are fragments of the original prairie landscape with their native plant communities still intact.
  • Typically, this means soils were never plowed, graded, or buried by fill.
  • Original prairie implies that populations of species have persisted or regenerated themselves on site through time (i.e., not planted by people as in prairie reconstruction).
what is a remnant1
What is a remnant?
  • Remnants are islands of biodiversity remaining after large-scale conversion of the prairie ecosystem.
  • We can find remnants the old fashioned way, on foot or driving around, but we can get help from GIS, aerial photos, and other types of maps (topoand soils maps are two examples).
  • http://ortho.gis.iastate.edu/client.cgi?zoom=1&x0=541662&y0=4703457&layer=doqqs&action=layernaip_2011_cir&pwidth=600&pheight=700
prairie remnants
Prairie Remnants
  • They may contain once common animal and plant species now threatened with extinction
  • Often harbor rare populations of species with unique genetic traits and adaptations.

Lady Slipper Orchid

prairie remnants1
Prairie Remnants
  • Remnants are benchmarks against which to measure the success of modern day prairie restorations, providing a reference point for species composition, ecosystem functions, and soil health
  • The untilled soils of remnants are the “gold” standards of soil fertility and structure.
prairie remnants2
Prairie Remnants
  • Prairie reconstruction would not be possible without the seed sources and ecological information that remnant prairies offer.
  • The remnants are where we collect seed ecotypes.
  • The greatest threat to small remnants is continuous isolation from gene flow and their vulnerability to disturbance from surrounding land use activities or misguided management within the remnant.
prairie remnants3
Prairie Remnants
  • Buffering, reconnecting, and restoring prairie on the scale of landscape is critical if native remnant tallgrass prairie is to be preserved as a viable ecosystem into the future.

Unconnected prairie potholes in north central Iowa. Most of the potholes have been drained, however, there are farmers who recognize their importance and farm around them. There isolation is a problem and a threat to their survival.

prairie remnants4
Prairie Remnants

Most prairie remnants are like Doolittle Prairie, a few acres to 40 acres of prairie that have survived by happenstance.

Doolittle Prairie Preserve outside of Story City, IA. Doolittle is a 40 acre remnant that was never plowed due to its poorly drained soils.

prairie remnants5
Prairie Remnants
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Q0KwtAiPs
  • This video is from the UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center and features the director of the center Daryl Smith.
  • Take note, in the video the point out that we really do not know how the Iowa tallgrass prairie looked. The remnants are all we have to go on – and our only sources of seed to try to recreate it.
prairie remnants6
Prairie Remnants
  • No two prairie remnants are alike – you can count on that.
  • Some may be wet prairie, while others may be dry prairie and sandy, or anywhere in between
  • An important measure of remnant quality is the number of native species present - this is called biodiversity.