Grasslands are one of the most endangered and least protected habitat types on Earth. Native prairie once covered as much as 18 million acres in Minnesota. Only about 235,000 acres of prairie remain today in the state.
The Nature Conservancy acquired 2,094 acres in Minnesota that have been added to the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was established in 2000 to address the loss of America’s grasslands and the decline of grassland wildlife.
The Nature Conservancy acquired the lands and transferred them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under a program recommended by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council and approved by the Minnesota Legislature. Funding for the acquisitions was provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created under the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
All of the properties acquired by The Nature Conservancy and added to the refuge are open to the public for outdoor recreation including hiking, birding and photography.