Big Sand Mound

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5/15/18

Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve sand prairieBig Sand Mound Nature Preserve is a rare 50-acre prairie area that often makes people feel more like they’re in the southwestern United States than just south of Muscatine.

Jointly owned by MidAmerican Energy and Monsanto, the preserve is open to the public only once every three years, and this is the year. In anticipation of that opening next month, Muscatine Community College is hosting a special May 22 presentation, detailing the prairie and its history.

Led by Dr. Paul Mayes, Professor Emeritus of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, and Brian Ritter, Executive Director of Nahant Marsh, the presentation begins at 7 p.m. in MCC’s Student Center, 152 Colorado Street. There is no charge for the event.

"It's a pretty unique sand prairie," Mayes said. "We don't find many of these in the Midwest. This one is unique even among sand prairies."

Big Sand Mound has the highest concentration of endangered species in the state with more than 400 types of plants and undisturbed prairies and woodlands. Eighty percent of the plants found there are native to Iowa.

Prickly pear cactus, birds-foot violets, six-lined race runners, ornate box turtles and the eastern hognose snake are a few of the unique animals that call Big Sand Mound home.

The Big Sand Mound Nature Preserve showcases the ability of business and industry to maintain and enhance biological, ecological and cultural resources and make a positive impact on the environment.