Thanks to generations of land stewardship by ranchers, tribes and public agencies, much of the Northern Great Plains remains native grassland that is productive for people and wildlife. However, this unparalleled resource is facing threats from conversion to cropland, energy development, invasive species and lack of capacity to manage the grasslands of this vast region. NFWF's Northern Great Plains program works with willing private landowners and local partners to conserve and restore native prairie and wildlife while enhancing local ranching and tribal communities.
Grants will be made to support conservation projects in six high-biodiversity regions: (1) eastern Montana; (2) western North Dakota; (3) western South Dakota; (4) northeast Wyoming; (5) Nebraska Sandhills; and (6) southwest Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta, Canada.
Funding priorities include:
Private Ranchlands: Projects that support existing rancher-based initiatives and engage new partners in delivery of conservation projects on ranching lands, including the delivery of Farm Bill and other federal programs that provide incentives for sound range management. Grants will also support the work of ranching-based coalitions to implement priority projects to conserve and restore habitat for native species.
Tribal Communities: Projects that support efforts to enhance or restore native prairie habitats and associated species that are culturally significant to the tribes; support participation of tribal biologists in species conservation or recovery programs; and increase access of tribes to federal incentive programs.
Development of Best Management Practices for Landscape Conservation and Wildlife Focal Species:
Projects that focus on the development and implementation of best management practices that improve habitat for focal grassland birds; the implementation of a grassland bird conservation index and monitoring strategy; improved understanding of factors impacting grassland birds.
Projects that focus on the development and implementation of best management practices that improve habitat for threatened mammal species, notably black-footed ferret, swift fox, pronghorn and black-tailed prairie dogs.