Red Winged Blackbird
Red Winged Blackbird Red Winged Blackbird © Chris Helzer / The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Buffalo Slough

Iowa

This preserve has many rare and threatened native species.

Why You Should Visit

Buffalo Slough is part of a larger 80-acre wetland slough that contains a large linear fen complex referred to as a slough or channel fen. A channel fen is a peat-filled wetland found in ancient river channels. Fens are special as a distinctive natural community and as habitat for rare plant and animal species. In Iowa, more than 200 species of plants are associated with fens and a single fen could contain as many as 75 plant species.

Location

Mason City, Iowa

Conditions

Access is across private property. Permission from adjacent landowner must be obtained before visiting.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Buffalo Slough was donated to the Conservancy in 1993 by Lucille Minott, whose late husband was deeply interested in nature and conservation.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The Conservancy is trying to protect the many rare and threatened species at Buffalo Slough from threats including invasive species such as purple loosestrife, reed canary grass and buckthorn, and from runoff from the golf course and residential areas that surround it.

What to See: Plants

Several rare plantsare protected at the site, including the largest population of bog buckbean in Iowa, fragrant false indigo, bog bedstraw and sage willow.

What to See: Animals

A healthy population of the state-threatened Baltimore checkerspot butterfly, which feeds on turtlehead is found at Buffalo Slough. Also, visitors might see red-winged blackbirds, sedge wrens and yellowthroats.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines