Town Hall Prairie preserve is one of many places in the state of Minnesota where the Conservancy bought land to help save the greater prairie chicken from extinction. Favored by European settlers for its meat, this native bird’s population plummeted. By preserving and protecting its habitat—grasslands—the greater prairie chicken population in Minnesota has rebounded. It still, however, faces extinction in several states.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The plight of the greater prairie chicken was a major reason why the Conservancy decided to protect and preserve this land for future generations. Town Hall Prairie is located immediately south of the Conservancy’s 1,300-acre Anna Gronseth Prairie. Also nearby is the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Rothsay Prairie Wildlife Management Area, a 640 acre prairie-wetland complex to the north. When combined, these three sites contain some of the most important wetland and fen complexes in Wilkin County.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Harmful, non-native species are one of the biggest threats to native plants. One invasive plant at Town Hall Prairie is exotic Canada thistle. The Conservancy burns the prairie—called a controlled burn—to control this invasive plant. Fire traditionally plays an important role in the prairie ecosystem. It can remove debris and increase the vigor of fire-dependent plants, allowing them to compete with harmful, non-native species, such as Canada thistle.