Manikowski Prairie is a 40-acre prairie on dry, shallow soils over a limestone bedÂrock. This preserve is located a half mile north of the town of Goose Lake in Clinton County. The area was purchased by Clinton County Conservation Board with the assistance of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation in 1985 from the Manikowski family and dedicated as a biological and geological state preserve in the same year. Located in the easternmost portion of the Southern Iowa Drift Plain landform region, this prairie grows in thin soil among low rock outcrops of Silurian-age doloÂmite (430 million years old). These bluffs are along the eastern edge of an ancestral valley of the Mississippi River known as the "Goose Lake Channel," which was carved into the bedrock thousands of years ago when the river was carrying huge flows of glacial meltwater. The prairie is dominated by little bluestem and sideoats grama with over forty species of plants. Early in the spring, shooting stars prevail among the rock outcrops, along with rockcress, indigo bush, bastard toadflax, and alumroot. Cliff-brake ferns grow on exposed ledges, while leadplant, false gromwell, columbine, mountain mint, pale purple coneflower, and rock sandwort grow on deeper soils in the prairie. Later in the year, prairie blazing stars and Great Plains ladies'-tresses grow among Indian grass, prairie dropseed, and big bluestem. A number of animals are known to use this preserve, including butterflies such as the Ottoe skipper, wild indigo duskywing, columbine duskywing, zabulon skipper, and regal fritillary.
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