Tallgrass prairie is a fire-dependent ecosystem characterized by tall grasses, wildflowers, and deep, rich soils. Tallgrass prairie once covered parts of 14 states in the Midwest, including about 80% of Iowa. Less than 0.1% of the original tallgrass prairie in Iowa remains today. Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge contains several good examples of this rare and precious original, or remnant, prairie. The refuge also includes former agricultural fields that are now reconstructed tallgrass prairie. Enjoy the diverse beauty of the tallgrass prairie on both remnant and reconstructed sites as you drive along the auto tour route.