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Tall-Grass Prairie Preserve

The tall grass prairie ecosystem once stretched from near present-day Winnipeg all the way south to Texas. Today, the largest intact blocks of tall grass prairie in Canada occur in the Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area in southeastern Manitoba.

The area supports a diversity of habitat types, including wet and dry tall grass prairie, marshes and fens, savannah and dense woodlands, riparian (riverbank) areas and rivers.

Thousands of species are known to use these habitats, including many that are listed on national or provincial endangered species lists. Over half of Manitoba’s population of endangered western prairie white-fringed orchid occurs here.

Prior to European settlement, the native species present in this natural area developed or evolved in the presence of wildfire. Recurrent fire promotes a landscape of open prairie and savannah. In the absence of fire, however, woody species such as aspen and basket willow encroach on the open prairie, causing a shift in habitat to a wood and shrub-dominated system. NCC uses prescribed fire as well as a range of agricultural activities, such as haying and managed grazing, as habitat management tools to control the intrusion of woody invasive species.

For more information about the Tall Grass Prairie and the conservation work NCC is undertaking in the region, see NCC’s Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area Conservation Plan.