Monarch tagging on Sioux City Prairie
Monarch tagging on Sioux City Prairie Monarch tagging on Sioux City Prairie © Graham McGaffin/The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Iowa

Sioux City Prairie

This tallgrass prairie is located directly north of Sioux City.

Sioux City Prairie is one of the nation’s largest native prairie tracts found in an urban setting. An area uniquely and delicately balanced between the city and the wild, Sioux City Prairie offers Briar Cliff University students and local high school students an outdoor classroom.

Why You Should Visit

Sioux City Prairie is a Conservancy-owned 150-acre tallgrass prairie preserve. The prairie and wooded valleys of this well-drained, high-relief landscape support a variety of plants and animals typically found further west in the Great Plains. The preserve also supports a diverse population of birds and it provides critical habitat for many species of prairie butterflies.

Location

Woodbury County, in the northern portion of the Loess Hills (within the metropolitan area of Sioux City)

Conditions

Sioux City Prairie is a combination of dry-mesic and loess hills. Species composition is similar to other prairies, but with the addition of species typically found further west in the Great Plains.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The threats to this area were rapid urban expansion and development. Parts of the site were being subdivided as it is within the city limits of Sioux City. As part of our effort to conserve and protect the Loess Hills area, the Conservancy acquired the site in 1983.

What has the Conservancy Done/Is Doing?

We have released flea beetles on the site to help control leafy spurge and conduct prescribed fires on the site with the assistance of the biology students from nearby Briar Cliff University.

What to See: Plants

Typical of grasslands found in more western locations, you may find plant species like skeleton weed, scarlet gaura and possibly even the extremely rare prairie moonwort. 

What to See: Animals

Some of Sioux City Prairie's rare species include prairie moonwort, Ottoe skipper, Pawnee skipper, Olympia marblewing and regal fritillary. Also look for the Bell's vireos.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines