Big bluestem, Tall Grass Prairie, MB (Photo by NCC)

Big bluestem, Tall Grass Prairie, MB (Photo by NCC)

Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area

Tall Grass Prairie, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Tall Grass Prairie, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Although the tall grass prairie ecosystem once stretched from near present-day Winnipeg all the way south to Texas, today, the largest intact blocks of tall grass prairie in Canada occur in the Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area.

The area supports a diversity of habitat types: wet and dry tall grass prairie, marshes and fens, savannah and dense woodlands, riparian (riverbank) areas and rivers.

Thousands of species are known to use these habitats, including many that are listed on national or provincial endangered species lists. Over half of the province of Manitoba's population of the endangered western prairie white-fringed orchid occurs here.

Prior to European settlement, the native species present in this natural area developed or evolved in the presence of wildfire. Recurrent fire promotes a landscape of open prairie and savannah, whereas in the absence of fire, woody species such as aspen and basket willow encroach on the open prairie, causing a shift in habitat to a wood and shrub-dominated system. NCC uses prescribed fire as well as a range of agricultural activities such as haying and managed grazing, as habitat management tools to control the intrusion of woody invasive species.

Tall grass prairie emerging buds & bugs

The Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve will soon feature the following:

Poweshiek skipper emergence potential the last week of June — these butterflies typically fly for a three-week period.
Poweshiek skipperling (Photo by Jaimee Dupont)

Poweshiek skipperling (Photo by Jaimee Dupont)

 

The beginning of the western prairie fringed orchid’s two- to three-week blooming period is also expected the last week of June.
Endangered western prairie white-fringed orchid in the tall grass prairie, MB (Photo by NCC)

Endangered western prairie white-fringed orchid in the tall grass prairie, MB (Photo by NCC)

 

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