Steve Chaplin

Prairie Conservation Coordinator 
The Nature Conservancy 
Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota

Currently Prairie Conservation Coordinator with the Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.  For the first 17 years his 32 years with the Conservancy, he was Midwest Director of Science with responsibilities for Heritage Program establishment, TNC state program management, ecoregional planning, and conservation data systems.  Since 2007, he has worked primarily on prairie conservation and was the chief author of the Minnesota Prairie Conservation Plan.
Presentation Title: Prairie Protection, Restoration, and Management in the Ordway-Glacial Lakes (OGL) Landscape

Description: Three stops will be made in the OGL landscape to illustrate different aspects of prairie conservation.  The OGL landscape contains one of five highest concentrations native prairie in Minnesota with 3,818 acres of native prairie within the 22,479-acre landscape.  OGL has been the focus of intensive conservation activities for over 45 years that have resulted in 7,002 acres in conservation fee title and another 1,747 in grassland easement.

Stop 1: Randall Waterfowl Production Area – Prairie Management on Public Lands 

The hilly topography of this The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service area was the reason that it survives as one of the best examples of a native prairie system in Minnesota.  Fire, sumac mowing, goat browsing, and cattle grazing are some of the tools employed to maintain prairie while also providing access to public hunting.

Stop 2: Lake Johanna Esker - Bringing Back the Prairie

Winding hills provide a commanding view of the prominent legacy of receding historical glaciers that carved this landscape with features like eskers, moraines, and kettle lakes on The Nature Conservancy‘s Lake Johanna Esker Preserve.   Once nearly choked out with cedar trees and over grazing, we now have some excellent examples of restoration work in action including tree removal, prairie reconstruction, interseeding, patch-burn-grazing, and sumac management.

Stop 3: Ordway Prairie - Partnerships in Action

The prairie gem of Central Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy‘s Ordway Prairie Preserve overlooks a rolling landscape containing a mosaic of some of our most highly diverse remnant local habitats from wet meadows, to oak savannahs and woodlands, to dry hilltop prairies.  Multi-agency partnerships in this area have resulted in great accomplishments towards: connecting and protecting a fragmented Prairie Core landscape, productive seed harvesting coalitions, collaborations on fire and invasive plant control management, and the Grassland Management Team (GMT) that focuses on the management and monitoring of native prairie remnants.


Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.