New project garners million-dollar grant
Fri, Oct 02 2009 at 4:59 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
Prairies Without Borders, a new conservation project focusing on Deuel, Grant, and Roberts Counties in South Dakota, received a $1 million grant from the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) through the North America Wetlands Conservation Act(NAWCA).
The Nature Conservancy organized the project and brought together a number of partners in November 2008 to begin planning. "This project is unique in that it recognizes the need to protect grasslands in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota," noted Pete Bauman, area manager for the Conservancy. Other partners include the project sponsor, Northern Prairies Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The funds will be primarily used to purchase U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grassland and wetland easements with a special effort at securing the easements on large contiguous tracts of native grassland. A long list of interested landowners has already been compiled.
"These easements allow the landowners to retain a working landscape, but also maintains the tallgrass prairie by preventing native and restored prairies from being plowed up," according to Tom Tornow of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
NAWCA grants require the sponsors to provide matching funds utilizing resources such as land which is already preserved, and direct cash contributions by individuals and organizations. The state of Minnesota is pledging preserved lands within the same Prairie Coteau region. In addition, the grant application recognizes some of the unique features of the North Dakota prairies.
"This grant outlines the importance of cooperation in conservation efforts," stated ;Patrick Anderson, Executive Director, Northern Prairies Land Trust.
The MBCC announcement outlined funding in the amount of $33,391,383 for 34 conservation projects, covering 190,225 acres across the nation.
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