Plover Prairie

East Unit






The Nature Conservancy logo




The Nature Conservancy








In October 1985 The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchased 160 acres of land in northern Lac qui Parle County and designated it Plover Prairie Preserve. In 1986 it added 275 acres adjacent to the original tract. in 1989, it purchased a nearby but non-adjacent 140-acre tract, and this became the West Unit of Plover Prairie. In 1990, 80 acres were added to the East Unit. In 2003, TNC secured an easement on a 240-acre parcel that connects the two units. In 2012, the TNC purchased that parcel. It is treated separately on the TNC Website as Plover Prairie Addition Preserve.














Printable Map(s) with GPS coordinates




East Unit

  Printable map   Printable map  



515 acres




The Nature Conservancy Web page for this location does not suggest where to park. The roads bordering this site are very narrow gravel roads with no shoulders. Meeting a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction would be an adventure. There is no room anywhere to park on the shoulder. A visitor has three options for parking:

201st Ave.
There is a large, brown, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) sign near 201st Ave., a gravel road with a Dead End sign at the intersection. Next to the TNC sign there is an unmowed (in 2012) field access. Drive across the field access and park next to the sign (see Parking photo below).

N45 12.126, W96 14.882

370th St.
There is a field access on the north side of 370th St. near the intersection with 201st Ave. at the south boundary of the unit. Park on the field access.

N45 11.822, W96 14.887

Pyramid WMA
Pyramid Wildlife Management Area (WMA) borders part of the preserve on the north. Follow the dead end road to where it ends. On the right the road is gated and leads to a private farm. On the left is a small, grassy parking lot for the WMA. It may be muddy or have standing water. If it isdry, park here and walk south on the road to the field access mentioned above.

N45 12.448, W96 14.886


Driving Directions

  Area and County  

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          Lac qui Parle County  
          Southwest Minnesota  

Hiking Trails


No maintained trails




No hunting


Ecological Classification

  Ecological Classification  
  Ecological Province    

Prairie Parkland Province

  Ecological Section    

North Central Glaciated Plains

  Ecological Subsection    

Minnesota River Prairie

  Land Type Association    

Milan Alluvial Plain


Native Plant Communities*


Mesic Prairie (Southern)

  * Source: The Minnesota Biological Survey, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources      

Natural Features








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Parking (201st. Ave.)

    Plover Prairie — East Unit      

The Nature Consercancy Signs

    Plover Prairie — East Unit   Plover Prairie — East Unit  

Glacial Eratics

    Plover Prairie — East Unit   Plover Prairie — East Unit  

View from a Knoll

    Plover Prairie — East Unit   Plover Prairie — East Unit  

Mesic Prairie (Southern)

    Plover Prairie — East Unit   Plover Prairie — East Unit  






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  northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens)   northern leopard frog  



Ten bird species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen on at least one of the units of this preserve:


Henslow’s Sparrow (Centronyx henslowii)

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)


Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor)

Special Concern

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Franklin’s Gull (Leucophaeus pipixcan)

Greater Prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido)

Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa)

Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammospiza nelsoni)

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)


eBird Field Checklist – East Unit

eBird Field Checklist – Central Unit

eBird Field Checklist – West Unit


American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)

Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)


American White Pelican

Great Blue Heron

Mourning Dove


Fungi and Lichens


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Lichens List


Insects and Arachnids


Two insect and arachnid species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen on at least one of the units of this preserve:


Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae)

Poweshiek skipperling (Oarisma poweshiek)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Insects List


common green darner (Anax junius)

eastern tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma americana)

goldenrod bunch gall midge (Rhopalomyia solidaginis)

goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis)

monarch (Danaus plexippus)

orange sulphur (Colias eurytheme)

twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella)

viceroy (Limenitis archippus)


common green darner





Four mammal species with conservation status in Minnesota have been seen on at least one of the units of this preserve:

Special Concern

northern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys leucogaster)

plains pocket mouse (Perognathus flavescens)

prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster)

western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis)


plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius)

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

  whitetail deer  



Seven plant species with conservation status in Minnesota are found on at least one of the units of this preserve:


disk water-hyssop (Bacopa rotundifolia)

Special Concern

deer sedge (Carex hallii)

flexile milkvetch (Astragalus flexuosus var. flexuosus)

Rydberg’s sunflower (Helianthus nuttallii ssp. rydbergii)

small white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium candidum)

velvety goldenrod (Solidago mollis)

water mudwort (Limosella aquatica)


Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas and Minnesota Biological Survey Vegetation Releves Plant List


Plants frequently found in:

Mesic Prairie (Southern) UPs23a



American black currant (Ribes americanum)

American bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)

American germander (Teucrium canadense)

big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi)

blue vervain (Verbena hastata)

blunt spikerush (Eleocharis obtusa)

bog willowherb (Epilobium leptophyllum)

broad-leaved cattail (Typha latifolia)

bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

Canada anemone (Anemonastrum canadense)

Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Canadian horseweed (Erigeron canadensis)

candle anemone (Anemone cylindrica)

chokecherry (Prunus virginiana var. virginiana)

common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)

common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

common mullein (Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus)

common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)

curly dock (Rumex crispus)

false boneset (Brickellia eupatorioides var. corymbulosa)

field thistle (Cirsium discolor)

flat-topped aster (Doellingeria umbellata)

Flodman’s thistle (Cirsium flodmanii)

foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum ssp. jubatum)

golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)

grooved yellow flax (Linum sulcatum var. sulcatum)

heart-leaved golden alexanders (Zizia aptera)

hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium)

hoary vervain (Verbena stricta)

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

late goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

long-headed coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)

Maximilian’s sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)

narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angustifolia)

narrow-leaved meadowsweet (Spiraea alba var. alba)

narrow-leaved purple coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)

northern plains blazing star (Liatris ligulistylis)

oval-leaf milkweed (Asclepias ovalifolia)

perennial sow thistle (Sonchus arvensis)

plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides ssp. acanthoides)

prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya)

prairie cordgrass (Sporobolus michauxianus)

prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

prairie ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata ssp. fasciculata)

prairie onion (Allium stellatum)

prairie rose (Rosa arkansana)

prairie sagewort (Artemisia frigida)

purple meadow-rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea var. purpurea)

reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea)

rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)

rough bugleweed (Lycopus asper)

Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa)

sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula var. curtipendula)

silverleaf scurfpea (Pediomelum argophyllum)

smooth oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra)

smooth scouring rush (Equisetum laevigatum)

softhair marbleseed (Lithospermum parviflorum)

spotted Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

spotted water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)

stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida ssp. rigida)

stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus ssp. subrhomboideus)

swamp betony (Pedicularis lanceolata)

swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata)

sweet Joe Pye weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

tall cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta)

tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

water smartweed (Persicaria amphibia)

western ragweed (Ambrosia psilostachya)

white heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides)

white sage (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana)

white sweet clover (Melilotus albus)

whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

wild licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota)

yellow marsh marigold (Caltha palustris var. palustris)


Allium stellatum (prairie onion)

Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)

Ambrosia psilostachya (western ragweed)

Amorpha canescens (leadplant)

Andropogon gerardi (big bluestem)

Anemonastrum canadense (Canada anemone)

Anemone cylindrica (candle anemone)

Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)

Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon)

Artemisia frigida (prairie sagewort)

Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludoviciana (white sage)

Asclepias incarnata ssp. incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Asclepias ovalifolia (oval-leaf milkweed)

Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)

Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)

Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed)

Bouteloua curtipendula var. curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Brickellia eupatorioides var. corymbulosa (false boneset)

Caltha palustris var. palustris (yellow marsh marigold)

Calystegia sepium (hedge bindweed)

Carduus acanthoides (plumeless thistle)

Cicuta maculata (spotted water hemlock)

Cirsium arvense (Canada thistle)

Cirsium discolor (field thistle)

Cirsium flodmanii (Flodman’s thistle)

Cirsium vulgare (bull thistle)

Dalea purpurea var. purpurea (purple prairie clover)

Doellingeria umbellata (flat-topped aster)

Drymocallis arguta (tall cinquefoil)

Echinacea angustifolia (narrow-leaved purple coneflower)

Elaeagnus angustifolia (Russian olive)

Eleocharis obtusa (blunt spikerush)

Epilobium leptophyllum (bog willowherb)

Equisetum laevigatum (smooth scouring rush)

Erigeron canadensis (Canadian horseweed)

Eutrochium maculatum (spotted Joe Pye weed)

Eutrochium purpureum (sweet Joe Pye weed)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (wild licorice)

Helenium autumnale (common sneezeweed)

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian’s sunflower)

Helianthus pauciflorus ssp. subrhomboideus (stiff sunflower)

Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra (smooth oxeye)

Hordeum jubatum ssp. jubatum (foxtail barley)

Liatris aspera (rough blazing star)

Liatris ligulistylis (northern plains blazing star)

Liatris pycnostachya var. pycnostachya (prairie blazing star)

Linum sulcatum var. sulcatum (grooved yellow flax)

Lithospermum parviflorum (softhair marbleseed)

Lycopus americanus (American bugleweed)

Lycopus asper (rough bugleweed)

Melilotus albus (white sweet clover)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)

Pedicularis lanceolata (swamp betony)

Pediomelum argophyllum (silverleaf scurfpea)

Persicaria amphibia (water smartweed)

Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)

Prunus virginiana var. virginiana (chokecherry)

Ratibida columnifera (long-headed coneflower)

Ribes americanum (American black currant)

Rosa arkansana (prairie rose)

Rumex crispus (curly dock)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Solidago altissima (late goldenrod)

Solidago rigida ssp. rigida (stiff goldenrod)

Sonchus arvensis (perennial sow thistle)

Spiraea alba var. alba (narrow-leaved meadowsweet)

Sporobolus heterolepis (prairie dropseed)

Sporobolus michauxianus (prairie cordgrass)

Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides (white heath aster)

Teucrium canadense (American germander)

Thalictrum dasycarpum (purple meadow-rue)

Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)

Typha latifolia (broad-leaved cattail)

Verbascum thapsus ssp. thapsus (common mullein)

Verbena hastata (blue vervain)

Verbena stricta (hoary vervain)

Vernonia fasciculata ssp. fasciculata (prairie ironweed)

Zizia aptera (heart-leaved golden alexanders)

Zizia aurea (golden alexanders)


American black currant

American germander

Canada anemone


common evening primrose

common sneezeweed

golden alexanders

hoary vervain


long-headed coneflower

prairie onion

prairie rose

purple prairie clover

rough bugleweed

spotted water hemlock

stiff sunflower (ssp. subrhomboideus)

swamp milkweed

tall cinquefoil

whorled milkweed

yellow marsh marigold




Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas Amphibians and Reptiles List







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