The Northern Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem was once dominated by native grasses that were often between 3 and 6 feet tall. Species of grasses and forbs were very diverse but the most dominant species that define the tall sea of grass include big bluestem, indian grass and switch grass. The native landscape was mostly treeless and early accounts of explorers and settlers described the tallgrass prairie as an open landscape resembling an ocean of grass with the appearance of waves as the wind blew across the long stems. Due to the deep, rich, fertile soil that supported this expanse of grass, the land was also prime for growing crops. As a result, 99% of the tallgrass prairie is now gone. The Wetland Management District strives to protect, conserve and restore as much of that native prairie as possible on our units.