Town Hall Prairie preserve is one of many places in the state of Minnesota where TNC 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 TNC Selected This Site
The plight of the greater prairie chicken was a major reason why TNC decided to protect and preserve this land for future generations. Town Hall Prairie is located immediately south of TNC’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 TNC 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. TNC 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.