Manikowski Prairie State Preserve, EC Iowa


Manikowski Prairie State Preserve Plants and Wildlife

Click on the Plant, Bird, Retile and Amphibian, Insect and Arachnid, and Mammal tabs at the bottom of the table to scroll through the lists. These lists are based on species identified during site visits. Bloom periods are based on those provided by the

Illinois Plant Information Network website.

Click here if you would like to submit records of plants you have seen at this location.

Click here if you would like to submit records of wildlife you have seen at this location.


About Manikowski Prairie State Preserve

Manikowski is a 180-acre State Preserve just northeast of Goose Lake, Iowa in Clinton County.  The Clinton County Conservation Board manages the preserve, which is the largest remaining limestone bedrock prairie in Iowa. This prairie is shallow to bedrock with just a thin layer of drought prone soil and no access to deeper underground stores of water. Prairies growing under these conditions are commonly termed goat prairies.

In such a water limited environment, goat prairies are dominated by short grasses such as little bluestem, junegrass, prairie dropseed, and panic grasses. The large, iconic prairie grasses such as big bluestem and indian grass can occur in goat prairies, but are typically shorter, less robust, and less prevalent than in mesic prairies. For this reason, forb diversity and cover can be relatively high in goat prairies. 

Persistent drought-like conditions and winter freezing throughout the soil profle are the primary maintenance processes of goat prairie, which deterred conversion to crop and commonly resulted in use as prairie pasture. Fire plays a lesser roll in goat prairies than in mesic or wet prairies, and incorrectly prescribed burns can do considerable damage to both the plant community and delicate soils.


There are no maintained trails, restroom facilities, or off-road parking at this site.

How to Get There:

From Old Highway 136, turn north on Z34 in the town of Goose Lake and turn east (right) on 137th Street. The preserve is on the south side of the road as indicated by a State Preserve sign. A narrow access easement between two private properties provides an entry point to the preserve. The neighboring quarry pumps water into the road ditch at times, so walking through or hopping over water may be necessary.

Nearby Sites of Interest:

Interesting literature concerning Manikowski Prairie State Preserve (click on the blue titles to view online articles):

Herzberg, Ruth and John Pearson. 2001. The Guide to Iowa’s State Preserves. Bur Oak Guides Iowa City, Iowa. 214 pp. This guide provides information and maps for State Preserves throughout the state of Iowa.

Iowa’s County Conservation System Guide to Outdoor Recreation

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