Generally speaking, the tall grass prairies that (used to) occupy a huge territory to the east of the 100th meridian are not considered part of the Great Plains. Still, these places display a rich biological diversity, and are unique in that they represent, on a small scale, a landscape that once covered thousands of square miles in the heart of North America.
A great many tall grass prairies have been preserved over that past few decades reflecting a change in how people view the prairie landscape. Most of the parcels tend to be small (10-1,000 acres) with the largest being the impressive Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve in eastern Kansas.
That’s why it’s exciting to hear of the big conservation initiative being proposed in Minnesota. A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune indicates that a number of conservation groups in the state are getting together to help protect as much as 2.2 million acres of prairie in the state over the next 25 years. The strategies for conservation as well as the funding sources for the initiative will be diverse, and involve public as well as private lands and funds. Funding may amount to as much as $3.5 billion.
It’s nice to see people and governments willing to step up to protect and preserve native prairies wherever they exist. Further west, the Great Plains Trail plans to be a part of this exciting plains and prairies movement.