Northern Great Plains Stories

  • Reseeding the Northern Great Plains with wildflowers

    WWF Magazine: Fall 2021
    The grasslands of the Northern Great Plains are home to 1,595 varieties of plants, 95 species of mammals, and hundreds of pollinators.
    Closeup of bee on flower
  • New Rangeland Atlas reveals the importance of healthy rangelands to wildlife and humans

    May 26, 2021

    Until now, grasslands have rarely been a target of international conservation agendas. Although they provide key habitat for wildlife and critical ecosystem services, they are often undervalued because we have not invested the necessary resources to calculate their benefits to people and nature. The Rangelands Atlas fills part of that void.

    Healthy grasslands in Lowry, South Dakota
  • Hopeful beginnings: First bison calves born on Wolakota Buffalo Range

    April 27, 2021

    As fresh snow redecorated the tranquil plains of the Wolakota Buffalo Range, new and precious life entered the world. Two bison calves took their first breaths amid the falling flakes—the first to be born on this ground in at least 140 years.

    A bison cow and her calf stand in a snowy field
  • Carter Roberts talks with Wizipan Little Elk about reintroducing bison to native land

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2021
    WWF president and CEO Carter Roberts talks with Wizipan Little Elk, CEO of the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), about reintroducing bison to native land and how to be an ally.
    Headshot of Roberts and Little Elk
  • Growing the herd

    March 18, 2021

    Help bring bison back to their native home in the Northern Great Plains.

    Bison facing front with herd behind
  • The great monarch migration

    March 16, 2021

    Every year, the Eastern monarch butterfly flies up to 2,500 miles from its breeding grounds in the US and Canada, all the way down to its hibernation grounds in central Mexico. These tiny creatures have the most highly evolved migratory pattern of any known species of their kind, but this unique phenomenon is under threat.

    Monarch butterflies
  • 135 bison find a new home with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe

    October 30, 2020

    The Tribe will create the largest native-owned and managed bison herd in North America. These 135 bison are the first of as many as 1,500 animals setting foot on 28,000 acres of native grassland.

    Bison walk out into a brown field
  • After 51 years, swift foxes return to the grasslands of Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana

    September 24, 2020

    Twenty-seven swift foxes were brought to the area from Wyoming in September, marking the beginning of a five-year reintroduction program led by the Assiniboine (Nakoda) and Gros Ventre (Aaniiih) Tribes of Fort Belknap.

    A reintroduced swift fox stands in tall yellow grasses
  • New project will help improve 1 million acres of grasslands to help fight the climate crisis

    September 22, 2020

    WWF is joining forces with The Walmart Foundation, McDonald’s, and Cargill to invest more than $6 million in this initiative to make lasting improvements to America’s iconic grasslands.

    Northern Great Plains
  • America's disappearing backyard

    August 05, 2020

    From 2014 to 2018, tillage of grasslands across the Great Plains occurred at an average rate of four football fields lost every minute. This means that millions of acres of America’s temperate grassland, one of only four left in the world and a critically important ecosystem, is being plowed up for crop production.

    A tractor plows a vast field with a rain storm in the distant background
  • Cindy and Harry Eisenberg on leaving a legacy for nature

    WWF Magazine: Fall 2020
    Cindy and Harry Eisenberg reflect on the meaningful experiences that continue to inspire their support of WWF.
    Buffalo grazing in high grass
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe will create the largest native-owned and managed bison herd in North America

    May 07, 2020

    The Rosebud Sioux tribe committed 28,000 acres of native grassland for the creation of a new plains bison herd. With a capacity to support 1,500 animals, the Wolakota Buffalo Range will become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd.

    A lone bison on the Fort Peck Tribes Cultural Buffalo Herd Ranch Facility
  • Working together for grasslands

    The Northern Great Plains is one of the world’s last great, remaining grasslands. Across its 183 million acres, nearly 132 million remain intact. Among those acres that are still intact, approximately 70% is privately owned, and often by ranching families.

    Riding a horse in Nebraska, United States
  • Newly patented technology helps save endangered black-footed ferrets

    WWF, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Model Avionics developed an innovative system to deliver plague protection for black-footed ferrets in the form of peanut butter-flavored baits by drones or all-terrain vehicles to prairie dogs. Recently, the team received a patent for the design—a first for WWF!

    drone flying and delivering bait
  • Party in the grass

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    The grasslands buzz with often unseen biodiversity. This medley of wildlife images offers a dizzying look at the insects and plants that contribute to the ecosystem of the Northern Great Plains.
    Prairie plants and insects
  • Stewards of the prairies

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    Economic and cultural pressures have made ranching more challenging in recent years. WWF has been working with ranchers to help keep the grasslands intact to the benefit of both ranchers and wildlife.
    Pronghorn in grassland
  • Welcome home! Bison released into new territory

    October 11, 2019

    Bison in Badlands National Park now have an additional 22,553 acres to roam thanks to a passionate group of supporters who want to see America’s national mammal thrive.

    Bison released into Badlands National Park
  • Understanding grassland loss in the Northern Great Plains

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2018
    Each year, WWF uses data from the USDA to track the conversion of grasslands to cropland across the Great Plains of North America and compare the loss to that of previous years. Here's what we found.
    numbers grassland2 winter2018
  • Seven unsung ecosystems we need to survive

    They may not be household names, but these ecosystems are vital to the health of our planet. They support an incredible range of plants and animals, as well as millions of people and their communities, and play a critical role in fighting climate change.

    zebra mirror Greg Armfield WW1113071
  • The next Dust Bowl? Great Plains grassland loss slows overall, but rises in South Dakota

    WWF’s latest annual study of the extent and impact of conversion of grasslands to croplands reveals that though such activity activity generally declined across the Great Plains in 2017, it has nearly doubled in South Dakota within the same time span.
    A tractor in a field
  • 5 ways to shop and eat smarter for the climate

    As shoppers and eaters, we have immense power to save habitats, fight climate change, and keep our planet livable by taking simple actions at home and in stores every day. Here are five steps you can take right now.

    A boy in a market in Bhutan
  • 5 Reasons the Farm Bill Matters to Conservation

    April 25, 2018

    Right now, members of Congress are working out the final details of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the stakes for conservation are huge.

    Hunt's Bumble Bee on sunflower
  • Ensuring sustainable food production for people and pollinators

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2018
    Bees are arguably the most effective pollinators of crops and wild plants in North America, joined by flies, wasps, beetles, bats, butterflies, and birds.
    reveal pollen summer 2018
  • Grassland songbird populations pressured by the plow

    October 24, 2017

    Grassland birds native to the Northern Great Plains are losing vital habitat in the form of plow-up for row crop agriculture.

    bird sitting on a branch