Natural Features & Ecosystems
Eastern deciduous forest and northern tallgrass prairie met in a mosaic of ecosystems in eastern Iowa with a rich diversity of plants and animals. This land combined savanna, prairie, and forest in a pattern of interlaced fingers. The forest followed the floodplains, while prairie remained on the high land and savanna occurred between. Savanna often occurred in the old sand deposits left by rivers that wandered over the land, but have moved elsewhere now. Forests, though once cut for lumber and farm land, have grown back along many streams.
Prairies and Grasslands
Ninety-eight percent of Iowa's prairie is gone and nearly all its savanna has been developed for other purposes. The National Park Service reconstructed 81 acres of tallgrass prairie at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. More »
Rivers and Streams
Did You Know?
General Land Office surveyors who first came to Iowa commented that the territory was fit only for waterfowl. Eighty-five percent of Iowa used to be soggy tallgrass prairie. More...