SIOUX CITY | The Gilchrist Foundation in Sioux City has awarded a $103,410 grant to The Nature Conservancy in Iowa for further expansion of Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve, Iowa’s largest native prairie.

The money will help buy and restore a 22-acre prairie in the northwest corner of the Plymouth County preserve for the conservancy’s growing bison herd, which plays a critical role in grassland preservation efforts.

In 1993, the conservancy bought three properties totaling 642 acres and has since acquired 22 more properties, bringing its total ownership to 3,217 acres at Broken Kettle.

The group reintroduced 28 genetically pure bison to Broken Kettle in 2008 to help control invasive plant species and create habitat for other grassland animals. The herd has grown to more than 100 animals, and the conservancy wants to acquire enough land for 250 bison to graze on 2,500 acres.

The Gilchrist Foundation supports the arts, wildlife and conservation, public broadcasting, medical care and disaster relief.