Restoring Conservation Lands

See What Dubuque Conservation is Doing

Along with restored prairies in wildlife management areas we manage, Dubuque County Conservation has implemented a plan to decrease the amount of turf grass in our parks and convert it to prairie. The goal is for 5 acres of prairie for the next 3 years. Although these areas may be small compared to other natural or restored prairies we manage, every little pocket of increased habitat for wildlife, pollinators specifically, is important. During this conversion of grass to prairie, the process isn't always a perfect transition. 

Sleep...Creep...Leap...

Prairies usually establish in a 3-step growth system of sleep, creep, and leap. In the 1st year of planting prairie, it "sleeps" and it looks as though nothing is happening and nothing is growing. However, plants are putting all their energy into establishing their root system underground. In the 2nd year, the prairie "creeps", this is when we start noticing more leaves and flowers popping up. The root system has become big enough that energy can be transferred to above-ground growth. The 3rd year, the prairie "leaps", and comes to life. The plants have become acclimated to the environment and are in full bloom and beautiful. While this 3-step process seems direct, some plant species may take 3-5 years to reach their full potential growth. Being patient is the key with prairie plantings. In 2022 we converted areas located in Mud Lake, Little Maquoketa River Mounds, Graf Park, and Bankston Park.  Stay on the lookout for our new plantings!

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