Places We Protect

Behrens Ponds and Woodland


Ribbon snake
Ribbon snake Ribbon snake © Ryan Rasmussen/TNC

The ponds at this preserve are exceptionally clear and contain a variety of freshwater sponges.



Behrens Ponds and Woodland is one of the only places that the blue-spotted salamander has been found. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources considers this salamander endangered, making this site very important.

Why You Should Visit

Behrens Ponds and Woodland Preserve features gently rolling sand dunes, with a series of sandy ponds that are surrounded by marshy grasslands, oak-hickory woods, thickets and sand prairie. The ponds have exceptionally clear water and support a variety of freshwater sponges, bryozoans (moss animals), insects and crustaceans. The ponds and surrounding habitats are home to 345 species of vascular plants and 17 species of amphibians and reptiles.


Six miles northwest of Cedar Rapids, in Linn County


For best viewing, visit in the spring. The ponds dry up during the hot Iowa summer.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Behrens Ponds and Woodland was deeded to the Conservancy by Karl W. Behrens in 1977. It was dedicated as a biological State Preserve in 1982.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Coe College uses the preserve for education and research.



Explore our work in this region

What to See: Plants

There are 345 plant species at this preserve, including: arrowhead, blue flag, hackberry, hazelnut, hoary puccoon, little bluestem, New England aster, northern red oak, pale touch-me-not, river birch, rushes, shagbark hickory, slough grass, spike rushes, spotted horsemint, white oak, white sage, white trout-lily and wild plum.

What to See: Animals

Spring peeper, green frog, cricket frog, ribbon snake, Dekays snake and the rare blue-spotted salamander are among the species found here.

Visitation Guidelines

Please download our preserve visitation guidelines here.