Butternut Valley Prairie SNA


Area and County

    Blue Earth County
    Southeast Minnesota

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12½ acres


 Printable Map with GPS coordinates

Printable map    

There is no ditch crossing or field access that would allow a visitor to pull off of the road. Park on the west shoulder of 478th Ave.

N44 7.538, W94 20.947

Hiking Trails

No maintained trails


No hunting

Ecological Classification Province  

Prairie Parkland Province

Ecological Classification

North Central Glaciated Plains


Minnesota River Prairie

Land Type Association(s)

Gibbon Till Plain

Native Plant Communities1

Mesic Prairie (Southern)

Wet Prairie (Southern)

Ownership Minnesota DNR logo        

Minnesota DNR


This SNA was designated June 29, 2009.








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  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA    

Mesic Prairie (Southern)

  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA   Butternut Valley Prairie SNA
  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA    

Wet Prairie (Southern)

  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA    


  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA   Butternut Valley Prairie SNA
  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA   Butternut Valley Prairie SNA

Local Resident

  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA   Butternut Valley Prairie SNA
  On a recent trip this local resident offered to act as guide    



  Butternut Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area
  Butternut Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area  

These photos are from one of the many unique ecosystems that are protected through Minnesota's array of Scientific and Natural Areas.

The Butternut Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area is a mixture of well-preserved mesic and wet prairie.

  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA
  Butternut Valley Prairie SNA  

Described by regional SNA staff Brad Bolduan as "a little jewel," this small prairie remnant showcases outstanding biodiversity with little invasion of non-native species. Never drained, cultivated, nor grazed the only regular activities included haying, seed harvest and burning which has contributed to the site's excellent condition.






Visitor Videos
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Other Videos
  Prairie Rose Cafe
Dale Bohlke

The prairie rose is a common prairie wildflower and a good place to watch a variety of insects dining. The insects range from slow moving beetles to these flies that are in constant motion. The challenge is filming them on a day that is not too bright or windy, both conditions that the insects thrive in but are a nightmare for recording. Both video and audio were recorded using an iPhone6. Flight was slowed recording at 240 fps and played at 30 fps.




Visitor Observations
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Observations

Minnesota DNR Bird checklist


American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

American Robin

Red-winged Blackbird

Fungi and Lichens

Oat Crown Rust (Puccinia coronata f. sp. avenae)

Oat Crown Rust

Insects and Arachnids

goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis)

Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina)

monarch (Danaus plexippus)

northern crescent (Phyciodes cocyta)

orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

widow skimmer (Libellula luctuosa)

northern crescent

widow skimmer


plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)

plains pocket gopher


Two plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found here:



Sullivant’s milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)


Special concern

rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium)


Plants frequently found in:

Mesic Prairie (Southern) UPs23a

Wet Prairie (Southern) WPs54b



alfalfa (Medicago sativa ssp. sativa)

American black currant (Ribes americanum)

American plum (Prunus americana)

black medick (Medicago lupulina)

butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior)

Buxbaum’s sedge (Carex buxbaumii)

Canadian horseweed (Conyza canadensis)

Canadian tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense)

chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

common yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

downy phlox (Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida)

false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides var. occidentalis)

field horsetail (Equisetum arvense)

four-flowered yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia quadriflora)

golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

mountain death camas (Anticlea elegans var. elegans)

narrow-leaved meadowsweet (Spiraea alba var. alba)

northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)

porcupine grass (Hesperostipa spartea)

prairie coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)

prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

prairie lettuce (Lactuca ludoviciana)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea var. purpurea)

rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium)

reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

sandbar willow (Salix interior)

shining bedstraw (Galium concinnum)

silverleaf scurfpea (Pediomelum argophyllum)

smooth rose (Rosa blanda var. blanda)

smooth scouring rush (Equisetum laevigatum)

southern blue flag (Iris virginica var. shrevei)

spotted water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida ssp. rigida)

Sullivant’s milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)

tall meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

tall thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)

timothy (Phleum pratense)

Virginia mountain mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)

water smartweed (Persicaria amphibia)

western poison ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii)

white prairie clover (Dalea candida var. candida)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

yellow goat’s beard (Tragopogon dubius)


Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Anemone virginiana (tall thimbleweed)

Anticlea elegans var. elegans (mountain death camas)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Asclepias sullivantii (Sullivant’s milkweed)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asclepias tuberosa ssp. interior (butterfly weed)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)

Carex buxbaumii (Buxbaum’s sedge)

Cicuta maculata (spotted water hemlock)

Conyza canadensis (Canadian horseweed)

Coreopsis palmata (prairie coreopsis)

Dalea candida var. candida (white prairie clover)

Dalea purpurea var. purpurea (purple prairie clover)

Desmodium canadense (Canadian tick-trefoil)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Equisetum laevigatum (smooth scouring rush)

Eryngium yuccifolium var. yuccifolium (rattlesnake master)

Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry)

Galium boreale (northern bedstraw)

Galium concinnum (shining bedstraw)

Heliopsis helianthoides var. occidentalis (false sunflower)

Hesperostipa spartea (porcupine grass)

Iris virginica var. shrevei (southern blue flag)

Lactuca ludoviciana (prairie lettuce)

Lysimachia quadriflora (four-flowered yellow loosestrife)

Medicago lupulina (black medick)

Medicago sativa ssp. sativa (alfalfa)

Pediomelum argophyllum (silverleaf scurfpea)

Persicaria amphibia (water smartweed)

Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)

Phleum pratense (timothy)

Phlox pilosa ssp. fulgida (downy phlox)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

Pycnanthemum virginianum (Virginia mountain mint)

Ratibida pinnata (gray-headed coneflower)

Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)

Ribes americanum (American black currant)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rosa blanda var. blanda (smooth rose)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Salix interior (sandbar willow)

Solidago rigida ssp. rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Spiraea alba var. alba (narrow-leaved meadowsweet)

Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)

Thalictrum dasycarpum (tall meadow rue)

Toxicodendron rydbergii (western poison ivy)

Tragopogon dubius (yellow goat’s beard)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)


American black currant

American plum


downy phlox

false sunflower


prairie rose

purple prairie clover

rattlesnake master

smooth rose

Sullivant’s milkweed

yellow goat’s beard





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