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)

The largest intact blocks of tall grass prairie in Canada occur in the Tall Grass Prairie Natural Area. With less than one half of one percent of tall grass prairie remaining in North America, the Natural Area acts as a significant refuge for plants and animals that were once a common sight.


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


Nearly 1,000 species are known to use these habitats, including many that are listed on national or provincial endangered species lists. Half of the global population of the endangered western prairie fringed orchid occurs here.

Pollinators are a vital component in the survival of flowers especially, species at risk. Learn more about pollinators from our partners  at the Manitoba Museum at and see how you can help protect habitat for pollinator populations, explore and take part in virtual tours and discover the plants that grow in the prairie in the Plant and Pollinator Gallery.


Prior to European settlement, the native species present in the 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.

Conservation status

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) presently owns more than 23,000 acres (9,300 hectares) of land in this natural area and maintains a base of stewardship operations in the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. NCC works in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (Minnesota ) and other conservation partners to carry out prescribed burns to mimic wildfire conditions and maintain the open tall grass prairie.

NCC also uses 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)


  • cornhusker April 02, 2016 - 6:19
    Would love to learn more about the Nature Conservancy

  • Adara July 04, 2015 - 8:52
    Thank you for allowing us from U of W to explore the prairie and learn more about Manitoba's native flora. Keep you the good work; we (and those gorgeous fringed orchids) appreciate the effort!

  • Anonymous November 26, 2014 - 12:41
    Hello, I am a student at the University of Manitoba, and for a final project i was interested in seeing if you had move information about the management strategies used specifically in Manitoba for the tall grass prairie population. Thanks

  • n/a July 22, 2013 - 9:33
    like to know more about you all

  • Janet April 12, 2013 - 11:35
    I am in love with and feel most connected with nature, butterflies bring transformation to us alike their own. Bless them, your conservatory and it's employees/volunteers for their continued care and efforts toward this majestic cause.

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