Conservation Program Area

Southeast Blufflands

Hansi Johnson

The most biodiverse area in Minnesota, the Southeast Blufflands feature a deeply dissected plateau forming towering bluffs, some stretching over 600 feet high, with spectacular goat prairies dotting south and southwest facing slopes.

Colloquially known as the “Driftless Area” it was largely untouched by the most recent glacial advances in Minnesota, and the Mississippi River and its tributaries carved the dramatic scenic landscape here. The unique karst topography is distinct for its sinkholes and caves created through the dissolution of the thinly covered underlying soluble bedrock (like limestone) which is common across the Southeast. Fountain, MN is even known as the “Sinkhole Capital of the United States”!

Important species in the area include the timber rattlesnake, peregrine falcon, sturgeon, Blanding’s turtle, and Louisiana waterthrush. Once a threatened species, the rare Pleistocene land snail also calls Southeast Minnesota home.

Current Grant Opportunities:

  • Blufflands Protection Program
    The Minnesota Land Trust is looking for willing landowners to participate in the Blufflands Protection Program, a conservation initiative to permanently protect high quality habitat complexes in southeastern Minnesota. For more ...
    Read more.

Explore Projects in this Area

A stream cuts through green shoreline with evergreen trees

The Elevation Effect—Climate Resiliency in Southeast Minnesota

Cedar Creek, a state-designated trout stream, runs through the protected property in Winona County, MN. Photo: Mark van der Linden The Minnesota Land Trust has added 43.7 acres of permanently protected property near Winona, MN, in the Land Trust’s Southeast Blufflands priority conservation area. The protected property has a restored grassland with native plants including [...]

An oak tree perched atop a bluff with goat image inset

Goats Help Restore Resilient Lands in Southeast Minnesota

Oak trees perched atop a bluff overlook the valley below. Goats helped remove woody vegetation and invasive buckthorn from this Oak Savanna habitat. Goats are known for all kinds of antics, including yelling, fainting, and of course, climbing into everything from delivery trucks to trees. In Southeastern Minnesota, on a Winona County property permanently protected [...]

Restoring Bluffs in the Driftless

Rising high above the valleys below, the bluffs of southeastern Minnesota are part of the most biodiverse region of Minnesota. Untouched by glaciers, this unique topography has been shaped by the rivers and streams carving through it. Unfortunately, development and invasive species have put this unique habitat at risk and are slowly eroding a Minnesota [...]

landscape with two rainbows

Healing the Natural Landscapes of SE Minnesota

The most biodiverse part of Minnesota, the Southeast is a special place for many Minnesotans. Unfortunately years of development and parcelization have impacted this unique habitat, and put ground water supplies at risk of impairment. Fortunately private landowners throughout the Southeast are stepping up to restore and protect the places they cherish. Just this month [...]


Protecting the Family Farm

Houston County has a rich tradition of farming, and family farms still dot the landscape here in Southeast Minnesota. Development has accelerated however, leading to the loss of some cherished family farms and putting the health of our waterways at risk. Thanks to Bob and Michelle Scanlan though, one family farm will be protected forever [...]




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