Plover Prairie is truly unique in the plethora of plant and animal species that call this wet prairie home. The site’s newest resident, the greater prairie chicken, is being restored through cooperative efforts with private and public agencies, and is now becoming more common to observe. Located in the heart of the Minnesota River Valley, Plover Prairie joins thousands of acres of state and federally owned lands to create a large block of habitat for plants and animals.
Plover Prairie is a complex of wet lowland prairie feathering into mesic and dry prairie on higher ground. Among the scattered boulders and granite outcrops—the area's signature land feature—can be found large populations of small white lady's slippers, prickly pear cactus, Carolina foxtail, slender milk vetch, lotus milk vetch, water hyssop, mudwort, mousetail and soft goldenrod.
Along with the introduction of the prairie chicken comes the ability to observe the prairies’ long-time residents such as the upland sandpiper and marbled godwit, listed as species of special concern by the state, Loggerhead shrike, Wilson's phalarope, short-eared owl and a number of nesting waterfowl. A large number of mammals live on the preserve, including northern grasshopper mouse, plains pocket mouse, prairie vole, western harvest mouse, coyote and badger.
Why TNC Selected This Site
Because of TNC's close working relationships with state and federal officials, private landowners and conservation organizations, it often works in concert to effect great change. In the case of Plover Prairie, TNC acquired this land as part of the Northern Prairie Wetlands Project of the Mellon National Wetlands Program.
What TNC Has Done/Is Doing
To keep this land healthy means TNC is working with many partners, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, USFWS, private landowners and others.
Some of the tactics being used are grassland easements, woody species control, prescribed fire, prescribed grazing, and restoration. Recently, TNC secured an easement on 240 acres that tie together the east and west units of the preserve. This agreement protects more than two miles of linked habitat for the future.
For more information on visiting this and other Minnesota preserves, check out our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.