Goals of the Tallgrass
Prevent further loss of tallgrass
Facilitate public awareness of the
benefits provided by tallgrass prairie, such as:
- Watershed protection
- Water-quality benefits
- Economic benefits of the beef/grass
- Viewsheds/open space vistas
- Carbon sequestering
- Cultural and historical value
Develop and help implement specific
Farm Bill policies benefiting the tallgrass prairie.
Facilitate development of tallgrass
conservation easement programs in Kansas.
Provide expanded use of existing range
management programs for the benefit of the tallgrass prairie landscape.
Serve as a producer driven, landscape
scale initiative, designed for private landowners to voluntarily, with agency assistance,
manage the remaining tallgrass prairie in a manner that fiscally supports the ranching
culture, and does so in an ecologically sound manner, precluding any further listing of
tallgrass species under the Endangered Species Act.
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Kansas Farm Bureau
State Conservation Commission
Kansas Association of Conservation Districts
Kansas Biological Survey
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Kansas Extension Service
The Nature Conservancy, Kansas and Oklahoma Chapters
State Association of Kansas RC&D Councils
Stream and Prairie Research
Wildlife Management Institute
U.S. Army Fort Riley
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
USDA. Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Mapping of the Corps of Engineers native
plant communities on Kansas Projects
- Mapping of U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service native plant communities in the tallgrass region of Kansas
- Invasive species work with the State
- Initiate agency acceptance of easement
programs in Kansas (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/The Nature Conservancy/Natural
Resources Conservation Service)
- Prioritized listing of issues/concerns
- Partial development of action plans
addressing issues of concern
- Active participation in 2002 Farm Bill
development through the Wildlife Management Institute
- New level of cooperation between diverse
groups such as The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kansas Department
of Wildlife and Parks, Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association and others
- Less than 4% of the original tallgrass
prairie remains in North America today. Kansas harbors 80% of this remaining
- Prior to settlement, Iowa had almost
twice as much tallgrass prairie as Kansas. Today, only .01% of Iowa's historic total
- Historically, Kansas was ranked 5th in
the nation for acreage of tallgrass prairie. But today, Kansas has more tallgrass
prairie than all other prairie states combined.
- 82.6% of the historic tallgrass prairie
in Kansas has been lost.
- Greenwood County has more native prairie
than any other county in Kansas--over 500,000 acres.
- Percentage of native prairie in some
|Chase = 80%
Greenwood = 68%
Elk = 61%
Morris = 56%
|Butler = 53%
Lyon = 44%
Woodson = 38%
Wilson = 24%
Top Five Threats to
the Tallgrass Prairie in Kansas
1. Invasive species including
fire suppression species and noxious weeds
3. Lack of private, state, or
federal financial incentives to manage Tallgrass Prairie in a sustainable manner
4. Negative profitability of the
5. Loss of native speciation and
the associated social, fiscal, and biological implications
History of the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance
The Tallgrass Legacy Alliance began in
1999 when Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife biologists began to "think big, think
ecosystems." This came at a time when the Kansas Partners Program was just
finishing a needs assessment of the State's various habitats, done primarily through The
Nature Conservancy and Kansas Biological Survey.
The assessment showed clearly that of
all the resource issues and environmental needs facing Kansas, one stood boldly forward--
the TALLGRASS PRAIRIE. Only 4% of North Americas presettlement tallgrass
prairie survives to this day, and 80% is located in Kansas.
Many issues threaten the tallgrass
prairie landscape, and it was clear to those involved that something needed to be done.
This something turned out to be the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance (TLA). The TLA was initiated
as a partnership effort among local ranchers, agricultural and conservation organizations,
and representatives from state and federal agencies including key initial support by the
Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Yet credit for the success of the
initiative needs to be given to the ranching families that have so willingly allowed the
Partners Program into their homes and their lives. A level of trust that could surely be
called friendship is what drives the TLA.
The TLA is proving to be a vehicle with
which ideas and funding sources can get directly on the ground, taking concepts and dreams
and turning them into habitat improvements. TLA's philosophy is, "If we are to save
the Kansas tallgrass prairie, the first step will be to keep the ranchers on the
landscape: everything else becomes secondary."
Agencies, individuals and organizations
such as Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, The Nature Conservancy, Kansas
Department of Wildlife and Parks, Wildlife Management Institute, and numerous others have
all agreed that when they walk in the door to a TLA meeting, hats, egos and titles are
hung at the door. All opinions are treated equally. The group agreed to discard those
issues that appear unsolvable and work positively on those that appear solvable.
Goals are beginning to blend into
reality. Collectively our goal is to do whatever possible to fiscally, socially and
environmentally to preserve the ranching communities of Kansas.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Services Partners Program is working,
on the ground, for producers and the environment in the State of Kansas,"
Rancher and President of the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance