Conservation Program Area

Prairie Coteau

Paul Raymaker

A landscape significantly impacted by the glaciers that once advanced over it, the Prairie Coteau is also known as Minnesota’s “duck factory” for its numerous small lakes and ponds.

This area encompasses Minnesota’s portion of a high, glacially-formed plateau that stretches from northeastern South Dakota into southwestern Minnesota. Known colloquially as “Buffalo Ridge”, this windswept landscape was historically dominated by native prairie and wetlands. Although a few scattered remnants of native prairie remain, the landscape today is dominated by agricultural land uses. Prairie pothole wetlands and shallow lakes that have not been drained for agricultural use provide critical habitat for migratory waterfowl and are considered part of Minnesota’s ‘duck factory’ that produces many of the region’s ducks.

As you might expect for the duck factory, a number of ducks species can be found in the area, but so can unique birds like the American white pelican, Swainson’s Hawk, and burrowing owl. The burrowing owl in particular is a state endangered species that is unique in this area of Minnesota. Other unique animals include jackrabbits, ground squirrels, and badgers.

Current Grant Opportunities:

Explore Projects in this Area

A southwestern Minnesota landscape featuring Pipestone Creek

Accelerating Habitat Conservation in Southwest Minnesota Program

Protect Critical Habitat & Natural Resources While Maintaining Property Ownership You can help improve drinking water and aquatic habitat; ensure that prairie streams, wetlands and grasslands continue to provide critical habitat for pheasants and other wildlife; and help preserve your way of life in southwest Minnesota. The Minnesota Land Trust is seeking private landowners who [...]

Four-photo array depicting a grass landscape with wetlands in background, common loon, trumpeter swan, and pelicans

Protecting Prairies in Southwest Minnesota

This recently protected property is located in the Minnesota Land Trust’s Prairie Coteau conservation priority area in Nobles County, MN and sits adjacent to East Graham Lake. The protected lands are comprised primarily of grasses and prairie–over 22 acres–including rare southern mesic prairie, a small grass-dominated remnant native prairie, and areas of restored prairie which [...]



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