Prairie Pothole 101

By INHF on August 8, 2012 in Blog

All Rights Reserved Megan BannisterPrairie potholes are some of Iowa’s most important natural features, but what exactly is one? This quick and easy overview will make you a conversational expert on prairie potholes in no time.

What is a prairie pothole?

Prairie potholes are small craters created by large glaciers retreating across the Great Plains more than 10,000 years ago. In the spring, the potholes fill with melting snow and rainwater, providing a seasonal wetland for plant and animal life.

Where can you find them?

There are over 300,000 square miles of prairie potholes located in five U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.

Why are they important?

Restoring prairie potholes, especially in crucial watersheds, helps to reduce flooding and improve overall water quality. These temporary wetlands are home to more than 50 percent of North America’s migratory waterfowl, making their existence vital in the preservation of these species.

To learn more about prairie potholes, visit the INHF website.