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Tracking Change at Las Cienegas

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Little Changes Make a Big Difference

Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, sits within an intact 100,000-acre grassland. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Black-tailed prairie dogs have been reintroduced to Las Cienegas. These burrowing animals are considered a keystone species, beneficial to maintaining the desert grassland ecosystem. © Marty Cordano

The Empire Ranch headquarters sits at the heart of Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. Originally established in the 1860s, the ranch headquarters are being restored by the Empire Ranch Foundation. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Shrub removal is among the grassland restoration efforts being undertaken at Las Cienegas. The Santa Rita Mountains are in the background. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Cienega Creek flows through the heart of Las Cienegas. © BLM

A Gila topminnow, an endangered fish in Arizona, swims in Empire Creek in Las Cienegas. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Conservancy scientist Gita Bodner is pleased to see all the tiny Chiricahua leopard frogs, an endangered species, in Empire Creek. The BLM, Conservancy and other partners have been removing the frogs' predators, the non-native bull frogs. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Clear water in Empire Creek is indicative of a healthy surrounding grassland. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Prickly poppy grows along the road in Las Cienegas. © Tana Kappel/TNC

The cottonwood trees mark Cienegas Creek flowing through the Las Cienegas. In the background are the Whetstone Mountains. © Tana Kappel/TNC

A giant cottonwood tree along Empire Creek at Las Cienegas. © Tana Kappel/TNC

Sagebrush at Las Cienegas with the Santa Rita Mountains in the background. This area is very close to the black-tailed prairie dog colony. © Tana Kappel/TNC

A pronghorn buck at Las Cienegas. © Tana Kappel/TNC

A blacktailed prairie dog burrow at Las Cienegas. © Tana Kappel/TNC

A dragonfly in Empire Creek. © Tana Kappel/TNC

A well-disguised Chiricahua leopard frog, endangered in Arizona, in Empire Creek in Las Cienegas. Many such frogs were spotted here in September 2009. © Tana Kappel/TNC

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