A Conservation Success Story - Gulf Coast Ecosystem Partnership

A Conservation Success Story – The Tallgrass Prairie Legacy Project, Kansas

Kansas contains most of the remaining tallgrass prairie left in the United States, up to 80%.  In order to restore and protect this remaining prairie, a unique group of conservation organizations, private landowners, business organizations, and agricultural groups have joined in an effort to manage and protect these remaining areas.  The Tallgrass Legacy Alliance contains several partners and advisors along with many private landowners in the area participating in this effort.  These include the Kansas Livestock Association, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, State Conservation Commission, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, Kansas Biological Survey, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Kansas Extension Service, The Nature Conservancy, State Association of Kansas RC&D Councils, Stream and Prairie Research, Wildlife Management Institute, Westar, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Fort Riley, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.    

It had long been recognized by the Kansas Biological Survey , the Nature Conservancy and the US Fish and Wildlife Service that the tallgrass prairie in Kansas was of special concern to the state and nation.  As a result, an ambitious alliance of private land owners, conservation organizations, state and federal agencies with key leadership and support from the Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program  was created to address the restoration and conservation of tallgrass prairie in Kansas while maintaining the ranching culture.  Private landowners were interested in learning more about prairie ecology and managing the remaining tallgrass prairie in an ecologically sound manner while maintaining fiscally viable ranches. This program has successfully mapped native plant communities in the tallgrass region of Kansas, worked on invasive species research, and opened up new avenues of communication and cooperation with ranchers in the region. Efforts are on-going to prevent further loss of tallgrass prairie in Kansas, increase public awareness of tallgrass prairie including the benefits provided by tallgrass prairie, and create tallgrass conservation easement programs in Kansas.

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