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Iowa

Sioux City Prairie


Sioux City Prairie is one of the nation’s largest native prairie tracts found in an urban setting. An area uniquely and delicately balanced between the city and the wild, Sioux City Prairie offers Briar Cliff University students and local high school students an outdoor classroom.

Why You Should Visit

Sioux City Prairie is a Conservancy-owned 150-acre tallgrass prairie preserve. The prairie and wooded valleys of this well-drained, high-relief landscape support a variety of plants and animals typically found further west in the Great Plains. The preserve also supports a diverse population of birds and it provides critical habitat for many species of prairie butterflies.

Location

Woodbury County, in the northern portion of the Loess Hills (within the metropolitan area of Sioux City)

Size

150 acres

Conditions

Sioux City Prairie is a combination of dry-mesic and loess hills. Species composition is similar to other prairies, but with the addition of species typically found further west in the Great Plains.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The threats to this area were rapid urban expansion and development. Parts of the site were being subdivided as it is within the city limits of Sioux City. As part of our effort to conserve and protect the Loess Hills area, the Conservancy acquired the site in 1983.

What has the Conservancy Done/Is Doing?

We have released flea beetles on the site to help control leafy spurge and conduct prescribed fires on the site with the assistance of the biology students from nearby Briar Cliff University.

What to See: Plants

Typical of grasslands found in more western locations, you may find plant species like skeleton weed, scarlet gaura and possibly even the extremely rare prairie moonwort. 

What to See: Animals

Some of Sioux City Prairie's rare species include prairie moonwort, Ottoe skipper, Pawnee skipper, Olympia marblewing and regal fritillary. Also look for the Bell's vireos.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines

Directions

From the intersection of Stone Park Blvd and Hamilton Blvd in Sioux City:
Go northwest on Stone Park Blvd to Clifton Avenue (there is a sign for Briar Cliff College) Take Highway 12 north to County Road K18.

Turn left onto Clifton Avenue and then left again onto Rebecca Street.

Turn right onto College Road, which will go up the hill to the meeting place in the Briar Cliff College western parking lot, adjacent to the northeast corner of Sioux City Prairie.

If you are arriving in Sioux City from the south via I-29:
Exit at Hamilton Blvd.

Proceed north to Stone Park Blvd. Junction, then follow above directions.

If arriving from the north via U.S. 75:
Take the Floyd Blvd exit, heading southwest.

Turn right onto Outer Belt Drive.

Take Outer Belt to Hamilton Blvd.

Turn left (south) and continue on Hamilton Blvd. to Stone Park Blvd., then follow above directions.

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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