Ranchers are vital stewards of the Northern Great Plains. They manage more than 70% of the remaining intact grasslands within this region. This project will support ranchers in planning and improving the resilience of their operations, both ecologically and economically.
“Under their careful management, these grasslands will continue to provide habitat for wildlife, store carbon, filter clean water, produce nutritious food, and support communities for generations to come,” said Martha Kauffman, managing director of WWF’s Northern Great Plains program.
The Northern Great Plains comprises approximately 25% of the total area of the Great Plains of North America and remains largely intact thanks, in part, to its harsh climate, which has made agricultural expansion relatively difficult until recent decades.
This unique and vital region supports 1,595 species of plants, which provide habitat for 300 species of birds, 95 species of mammals, 28 species of reptiles, and many important pollinators. And the Missouri and South Saskatchewan rivers, along with smaller prairie streams, riparian, and wetlands habitats, provide a home for 13 species of amphibians and 121 species of fish.
The remaining healthy ecosystems within the Northern Great Plains are maintained largely by hardworking ranching communities. Grasslands have evolved to be grazed, and cattle grazing, when managed well, can deliver many conservation benefits, including healthy grasslands, improved soil, and the preservation of key habitats.