Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Best Management Practices

Prairie Restoration

Tallgrass Prairie Center

Country
United States

Region
Iowa

Land Use / Land Cover
Multiple Categories

Agency Type
NGO

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs, Tallgrass Prairie

Publication Type
Website/web hub

Original Language
English

Technical guides recently developed by the Tallgrass Prairie Center review a number of BMPs related to tallgrass prairie habitat, including those that address habitat identification, preservation, or restoration; planting or seeding; forb propagation; mowing or haying; thinning; prescribed burning; grazing; invasive/pest species management; soil disturbance; and irrigation. These publications support multiple initiatives, including monarch, pollinator and prairie restoration on farms, but are not specific to monarchs. Technical guides are available in pamphlet format for the general public, and recommendations are applicable for various land uses, including farms, natural areas, lawns and gardens.

The pamphlet series takes a step-by-step approach to prairie restoration in Iowa and the Upper Midwest (US), introducing concepts in order, from initial seed collection to monitoring. Plant lists appropriate for restoration are provided, and include milkweed and other forbs, grasses and sedges. Recommendations for seed collection—part of the planting or seeding BMPs—including the optimal seed collection time, are provided, as are those for protecting seed sources, such as remnant prairies. Seed mixes are recommended, based on site characteristics such as soil moisture, slope and aspect. BMPs for forb propagation also include a species list with recommended methods and timing.

Tools necessary or useful for each practice are outlined, and methods related to site preparation are provided for multiple existing site conditions, including bare sites, previously cropped sites, pastures and vegetated sites. Seeding methods and treatment of invasive species are discussed in particular detail. Methods are outlined regarding monitoring to evaluate establishment success, including measurements of plant density or diversity. Additional references and programs are provided within the technical guide series and on the Tallgrass Prairie Center website (TPC 2015).

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