This tallgrass prairie is set among low rolling hills of limestone strata that cover layers of sandstone, flint and chert. The headwaters of the South Fork of the Cottonwood River run through the property.
The heart of the Flint Hills, east of Cassoday in eastern Butler County and western Greenwood County
To restore a functioning tallgrass prairie ecosystem, The Nature Conservancy purchased the preserve in 1972 and 1973 with funds provided by the late Katharine Ordway.
The Flint Hills typifies our commitment to large-scale projects that preserve the natural ecosystem and the human culture connected to that ecosystem, both of which are equally threatened.
Originally used for grazing because the underlying limestone made it unsuitable for plowing, this preserve contains healthy populations of big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass, switch grass and typical forbs of the tallgrass environment.
Management practices are underway to protect a number of target species, including the greater prairie chicken, the short-eared owl, and the Henslow's sparrow. These species have large area requirements, but tolerate or require a variety of habitats within their home ranges. All of these target bird species have experienced significant population declines due to the loss of suitable habitat.
Coyotes, deer and bobcats roam this tallgrass prairie. Another threatened species, the Topeka shiner, is a small minnow that lives in the headwaters streams of the Cottonwood River. Nearby grazing introduces silt into the stream waters and harms shiners' nests.
Tours and visits of Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie Preserve are available by appointment. Please contact the Kansas Chapter for more information.