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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Faville Prairie (No. 3)

Faville Prairie

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR



Jefferson County.



Located near the Crawfish River, Faville Prairie is one of the largest low prairie remnants in Wisconsin. Long revered by ecologists such as Aldo Leopold who fought for its preservation, the prairie is a remnant of the once extensive Crawfish Prairie that covered nearly 2500 acres. The prairie is situated on a small ridge in the center of the site, while areas to the east are slightly lower and contain sedge meadow and shrub carr communities. Over time ditching and other land use changes have altered the site's hydrology. As a result, the site has become drier leading to an increase in exotic and woody species and a change in native species composition. However, the prairie still retains a high level of native floral diversity due to small variations in water levels and in the water-holding capacity of the soils. Grasses include big blue-stem, Indian grass, and blue-joint grass. There is also a good diversity of sedges. Forbs include yellow-star grass, shooting-star, gentians, prairie blazing-star, prairie-dock, compass-plant, mountain mint, northern bedstraw, prairie phlox, sunflowers, and asters. Future acquisition and restoration of nearby lands may provide the necessary acreage for their future return. Faville Prairie is owned by the University of Wisconsin and was designated a State Natural Area in 1952.


Driving directions

Please contact the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum at (608)263-7344 for access permission


Faville Prairie is owned by:

  • UW Board of Regents
Last revised: Monday, March 27, 2023