The Service completed this plan
Huron Wetlands Acquisition Office
200 Fourth Street Southwest
Huron, South Dakota 57350
Branch of Land Protection Planning
134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
605 / 352 7014 Huron
303 / 236 4345 Lakewood
North Dakota, South Dakota
This environmental assessment documents the establishment of the Dakota Tallgrass Prairie Wildlife Management Area Easement Program. The tallgrass prairie region is the eastern third of the Great Plains. As the prairie has been plowed and fragmented, the once expansive, complex ecosystem has been simplified and the forces of fire and grazing bison no longer recreate the tallgrass prairie of the past. At less than 4 percent of its original size, this region has become one of North America’s most endangered ecosystems.
The purpose of this conservation easement program is to preserve quality tallgrass prairie habitat in eastern North Dakota and South Dakota to help maintain biodiversity and to slow habitat fragmentation.
The Service established the Dakota Tallgrass Prairie Wildlife Management Area to help preserve the rich diversity of plant and animal species supported by tallgrass prairie habitat: at least 300 species of plants, 113 species of butterflies, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians, 60 species of mammals, and 260 species of birds. There are 237 species of rare plants and animals in the area; at the Federal level, 13 species are under consideration or listed as threatened and endangered, such as the western prairie fringed-orchid, piping plover, and Topeka shiner.
The Service will preserve prairie primarily through the purchase of perpetual grassland easements from willing sellers. Occasionally, fee-title purchase of tracts and reseeding native prairie may occur.
Easements restrict grazing, permit haying after July 15 each year, and prohibit plowing the prairie. All land with easements remains in private ownership; therefore, property tax, invasive plant control, and control of public access remains the responsibility of the landowner.
Environmental assessment 2000 (1 MB PDF)