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Prairie Strips

Prairie strips are a conservation practice that integrates small areas of native vegetation within the row crop landscape, placing them in strategic locations to improve biodiversity, reduce soil runoff, and reduce nutrient losses to surface and groundwater. The diversity and multi-layered root community of a native prairie strip are an improvement over the monoculture type cool season grass buffers that are traditionally planted in croplands. Native plants provide improved resistance to water flow and sediment movement. Research by Iowa State University has shown that converting 10% of a row-crop field to a diverse, native perennial vegetation can reduce total phosphorus and nitrogen losses through runoff by 90 and 85 percent respectively (Source: Iowa State University, Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips - STRIPS - program).