Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly Monarch butterfly © Hannah Howard/TNC

Places We Protect

Iowa

Mori Prairie

This 40-acre preserve is a rare example of black soil prairie.

The Mori Prairie is unique because it is a small-quality wet prairie in the middle of a very developed cropland area. This area is home to an uncommon plant community because of the distinctive moisture levels in the area.

Why You Should Visit

Mori Prairie is a 40-acre prairie and sedge meadow complex that is located on fine agricultural soils. It has not been used for agriculture, however, due to a combination of poor draining and a tradition of cutting prairie hay. It is therefore a fine rare example of black soil prairie.

Location

Mori Prairie is located in Clay County, about 8 miles west of Fostoria and Highway 71.

Conditions

Because black soil is so well suited to agriculture, unutilized black soil prairies, while the most common type in Iowa before the days of early settelment, are rare today. The soils are saturated by surface water.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

When Mori Prairie was sold in 1995, it was the new owner’s intention to till it and convert it to row crops. The timely gift of a nearby farm from Laura Jepson to the TNC Iowa Chapter provided an opportunity to save Mori. We sold part of the Jepson farm to the owner of Mori Prairie, and purchased the prairie from him. The prairie also qualified for the emergency wetland reserve program, which covered 80 percent of the cost of acquiring it.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

Mori Prairie was fairly degraded at the time we purchased it, but it is responding well to proper management. We anticipate that the site will continue to reveal treasures as the restoration process continues.

What to See: Plants

Some typical sedge meadow and prairie plants that have been observed at the site include prairie phlox, golden Alexander, lead plant, white camass, wood lily, prairie blazing star, silver scurf-pea, rattlesnake master and the normal complement of grass species. Fragrant false indigo (Amorpha nana), a state threatened plant, has also been discovered at the site.

What to See: Animals

Butterfly species like the monarch and the wood nymph have been spotted at Mori Prairie, along with the redwinged blackbird and the common yellowthroat.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines