Prairie habitat

Prairie habitat.In open, prairie landscapes, restoration and maintenance of native grasses and forbs for grassland songbirds, prairie chickens, waterfowl and small mammals are appropriate. Tree plantations that fragment open landscapes are discouraged.


  • Protect: Maintain habitat through conservation easements on private land or acquisition.
  • Restore: Grassland and wetland reconstruction:
    • Seeding of native grasses and wildflowers to restore prairie vegetation
    • Restoration of drained wetland to provide breeding pair and brood rearing habitat for waterfowl
  • Enhance: Improve habitats with methods such as prescribed burning, conservation grazing/haying, and control of invasive species:
    • Growth of cover crops in agricultural fields to build soil and provide added food and cover for wildlife
    • Installation of fence and water systems to facilitate rotational grazing and increase nesting cover
    • Prescribed burning to remove thatch, rejuvenate grasses and wildflowers, and set back woody plants
    • Removal of trees that fragment open habitats and provide predator perches and travel lanes

Landowner assistance

  • Pheasant habitat improvement grants: Provides cost-sharing to landowners for management practices that improve pheasant habitat. Eligible projects include the development, restoration and maintenance of suitable habitat for ring-necked pheasants, which includes the establishment of food plots (primarily corn or sorghum), nesting cover, woody cover and wetland restoration.
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service: With a mission of "helping people help the land," the agency provides services that enable people to be good stewards of soil, water and related natural resources.
  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts: Local units of government that manage and direct natural resource management programs at the local, often county level, and work with landowners. Some Districts have local foresters.
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife: A federal program that focuses on assisting landowners with wetland, prairie, and stream restoration projects. Expert technical assistance and cost-share incentives are provided through voluntary agreements.
  • Prairie protection for landowners is a focus of the DNR. Contact a prairie specialist to learn more about how you can be part of the native prairie bank and native prairie tax exemption programs.
  • Pheasants Forever offers the services of its farm bill biologists. The organization works to conserve pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.


A male prairie chicken booms during mating season.

A male prairie chicken booms during mating season.