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150 acres acquired at Ordway Prairie

The Nature Conservancy announced that it has protected nearly 150 acres of prairie and wetlands adjacent to its Ordway Prairie Preserve in Pope County.

The land was acquired recently under the Minnesota Prairie Recovery Project, an innovative effort to conserve and manage the state's remaining prairies. Funding for the property was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund.

The property is open to the public for outdoor recreation including hunting, birding, hiking and cross-country skiing.

The 150-acre property will be added to the Conservancy's Ordway Prairie Preserve, which is home to prairie grasses and wildflowers, fens and other wetlands and wildlife including Poweshiek skippers and regal fritillary butterflies.

The addition to Ordway Prairie is a mixture of unplowed native prairie and groundwater seepage wetlands but will need restoration work to remove trees, brush and invasive species to return the property to a more natural condition.

The Conservancy will manage the new property with prescribed burns and conservation grazing to preserve the diversity of native plants and wildlife.

Prior to European settlement, there were more than 18 million acres of prairie in Minnesota. Only about 220,000 acres or approximately 1 percent remain today, according to the Minnesota County Biological Survey. About half of the state's remaining prairies are unprotected and at risk of being converted.