The aim of the Research Program is to improve our understanding of applied prairie ecology while placing more native vegetation back on the landscape to benefit people, the land, and other living things. This program provides leadership in prairie reconstruction and management through applied research.



What We Do

We help lead the way in applied research on the techniques and underlying ecology of tallgrass prairie reconstruction. Here are a few things that make our program unique:

  • Answer relevant questions driven by land managers and decision makers
  • Research with equipment and techniques used by real practitioners
  • Field experiments and other formal research projects
  • Demonstration teaching sites

Our recent work has focused on understanding barriers to establishment in prairie restorations, incorporating ecology and practicality in seed mix design, and methods of re-integrating native vegetation in working landscapes.



Where We Work

We have experiments, demonstration sites, and other study areas throughout eastern and northeastern Iowa, but we work more broadly in working landscapes throughout the Upper Midwest via participation in the conservation and ecological restoration community. Currently, our research is based in the following places:

  • Right-of-ways (IRM roadsides and other ROW)
  • Working farms (Conservation Reserve Program plantings, Prairie Strips, conservation grasslands)
  • Protected lands (Irvine Prairie)

Some research and demonstration sites are accessible to the public, and we encourage you to visit the sites after you read our technical reports, science updates or peer-reviewed publications. The following research and demonstration areas are accessible to the public:

  • Irvine Prairie
  • Prairie on Farms Research and Demonstration Area



Past and Current Funding/Support

  • Iowa Nutrient Research Center
  • Farm Service Agency
  • Living Roadways Trust Fund
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • U.S. Housing and Urban Development Disaster Resilience Grant to Iowa
  • Sitka Gear Ecosystem Grant
  • Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust‌



Past and Current Partners/Collaborators

  • Iowa State University STRIPS
  • University of Northern Iowa Biology Faculty
  • Iowa Geological Survey
  • Fayette County IRM Program
  • Linn County IRM Program
  • Benton County IRM Program
  • Iowa State University Borlaug Learning Center
  • Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever
  • Monarch Joint Venture
  • AmeriCorps Land and Water Stewards
  • Iowa State University Extension
  • The Xerces Society
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa
  • Hertz Farm Management
  • Peoples Company

Contact Us / Learn More

For questions and information regarding the Research and Restoration program, please reach out to: