Conservation easements are expected to help landowners conserve native prairie remnants in southeastern North Dakota and eastern South Dakota as a result of recently approved Congressional appropriations.
The federal Omnibus Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2009 was signed by President Obama on March11,2009, and includes $500,000 to conserve approximately 6,000 acres within the U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service’s Dakota Tallgrass Prairie Wildlife Management Area that includes portions of North Dakota and South Dakota.
South Dakota’s U.S. Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune and U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin were instrumental in advocating for funding the conservation easement program in the spring of2008.
Tallgrass prairie once covered about 90percent of North Dakota and South Dakota. Today, less than 3 percent of native prairie exists within the conservation easement program project area.
“By offering landowners the option of a conservation easement this program provides an alternative that helps keep their grassland available for grazing and for wildlife habitat,” said Peggy Ladner, who oversees the Conservancy’s work in North Dakota and South Dakota. “We want to thank Sen. Johnson, Sen. Thune and Rep. Herseth-Sandlin for their leadership and support in helping us conserve our prized tallgrass prairie.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
South Dakota Media Contact