Pohlman Prairie Preserve

About Pohlman Prairie Preserve:

Pohlman Prairie Preserve is located northeast of Dubuque, Iowa and is owned and managed by the Dubuque County Conservation Board. This preserve includes woodland on the bluff slopes and ravines and bluff prairie on shallow to bedrock soils on the ridge top. 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 Indiangrass 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 profile 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 role 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 there is off-road parking on the north side of Highway 3. Off of the parking lot, there is a switchback hiking trail that leads hikers up the ravine to the ridge top goat prairie. There are no restroom facilities at this location.
How to Get There:

 From Dubuque, Iowa, take IA-3W/US-52N for approximately 7.5 miles. 
Nearby Natural Areas of Interest:

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


Plants and Wildlife of the Pohlman Prairie Preserve

Based on species identified during site visits. Bloom periods are based on those provided on the Illinois Plant Information Network website.

Click here if you would like to submit records of plants or wildlife that you have seen at the Pohlman Prairie Preserve.

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