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Iowa

Folsom Point


The Great Plains skink recently was discovered on the Folsom Point Preserve and is thought to be one of the few remaining homes for this species in Iowa. Prior to 2002, this rare lizard last had been observed in Iowa in 1984, 40 miles to the south. This unique site also is home to other unusual species. Folsom Point is one of the only areas where the northern subspecies and southern subspecies of the Leonard’s skipper butterfly meet and hybridize.

Why You Should Visit
Folsom Point Prairie features spectacular landscapes, with open prairie ridges rising dramatically out of the Missouri River floodplain. This preserve not only has high-quality prairie on the ridges; it also has a rare example of mesic prairie in one of the valleys. These high-quality habitats support a high diversity of prairie plants, birds and butterflies.

Location
South of Council Bluffs, in Pottawattamie and Mills Counties

Size
281 acres

Conditions
The terrain is quite rugged with steep slopes. The preserve is used for research by local students, so visitors should avoid flags and other markers. Currently, about 60 acres is leased by a local farmer, therefore, farming activities might be present during your visit.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Folsom Point Prairie protects one of the largest remaining contiguous prairie remnants in the southern Loess Hills. Purchased in 1999, the prairie provides a valuable habitat for grassland animals, particularly in an area where the prairie community has largely disappeared.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Before the acquisition of the Folsom Point Prairie by the Conservancy, one of the loess ridges fell victim to fill-dirt removal. The Conservancy is battling the erosion from this area while trying to reconstruct the prairie. Additionally, prairie will be reconstructed in the agricultural fields as part of the long-term plans for this site. Control of woody plants (particularly eastern red cedar) is underway. Since 1999, over 1,000 volunteer hours have been logged to restore the native prairie.

What to See: Plants
Plant species at Folsom Point include your typical array of Loess Hills prairie species, including skeletonweed and nine anther dalea. Other species include windflower (or thimbleweed), heath aster, silky aster, side-oats grama and cut leaf ironplant.

What to See: Animals
The preserve provides refuge for several rare animals, including the ornate box turtle, bobcat and several species of butterfly: the regal fritillary, Ottoe skipper, southern and northern Leonard's skipper and Leonardus skipper.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines

Directions

Take I-29 south of Council Bluffs to Highway 370:
Go east on 370 approximately 1 mile and turn right on Alcorn Avenue.

Turn left on Brohard Avenue.

Go to 50365 Brohard Avenue. A red gate and small yellow Conservancy sign mark the entrance to the preserve.

Discussion

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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