Ecological Areas

Wet Meadow

A constantly moist area, Wet Meadows can become flooded. Includes plants with many stems such as grasses/sedges/rushes to slow water flow and filter contaminants.

Plant Species

  • Indigo bush
  • Big bluestem
  • Fox sedge
  • Bebb’s sedge
  • Horsetail


Generally 0-18 inches deep. Emergent plants are important for wildlife and phytotranspiration. They also provide habitat for phytoplankton, which play an important role in nutrient removal.

Plant Species

  • Marsh marigold
  • Broadleaved cattail
  • Water sedge
  • Baltic Rush
  • Three-square bulrush.

Prairie Floodplain

Normally dry but may flood during snow melt or storm events. The ability of floodplain species to handle extremes in hydrology makes them will suited for edges of ponds. Woody plants are useful in this area for soil stabilization, absorbing large amounts of water, and providing vertical structure for an enhanced community experience.

Plant Species

  • Bottlebrush sedge
  • Switchgrass
  • Green bulrush
  • Prairie cord grass
  • Swamp white oak
  • Black Chokeberry
  • Red-Osier Dogwood
  • Pussy Willow
  • Viburnum trilobum

Wildflower Habitat

Normally dry but may flood during snow melt or storm events. Creating a habitat for pollinators is critical in the reproduction of wild plants.

Plant Species

  • Cardinal Flower
  • Ironweed
  • Canada Anemone
  • Swamp Aster
  • Cup Plant

Upland Prairie

Seldom or never floods. A wide variety of species are adapted to this zone making it an ideal area to compare the effects of water inundation to plants lower in the basin.

Plant Species

  • Little Bluestem
  • Indian Grass
  • Giant Hyssop
  • Prairie Wild Onion
  • Butterfly Milkweed

Demonstration Gardens

This area is seldom or never floods. It is an organized area with samples from plants from each area of the park. It is a great place to go if you're curious to what type of plants we have in the park and to give you an understanding of how the act together.

Plant Species

  • The Example Garden has an assortment of different species of plants from different areas of the park.