Applications are now open for Southern Plains Grassland Program to work closely with nonprofit and government partners and the ranching community to bring important financial and technical resources to address the health and resilience of the grasslands of the Southern Great Plains.
These actions will increase the vitality of this often-overlooked ecosystem, providing benefits to wildlife and to rural, ranching-based communities. In addition, these actions increase the ability of grasslands to store carbon, providing key benefits to much larger efforts to address climate change.
Projects that improve management on grazing operations, increase organizational capacity and utilize innovative and community-based approaches are encouraged. All projects should emphasize strategies that improve landscape-scale resilience to climate change or that specifically address intensifying environmental threats and stressors related to climate change. The Southern Plains Grassland Program seeks projects that address the following desired outcomes:
- Demonstrate successful models for grassland habitat conservation that:
- Implement management at large scales that facilitates persistent long-term behavioral changes that benefit grasslands, increase climate resiliency and support grassland-obligate species on working lands (e.g. conversion of expiring Conservation Reserve Program to managed grazing systems, installation of grazing management agreements etc.).
- Increase connectivity through grassland restoration efforts (e.g. re-seeding, removal of woody invasives, prescribed fire, etc).
- Implement or provide capacity to engage in conservation delivery for NRCS Great Plains Biome Framework.
- Community Co-Benefits – Increase institutional and regional capacity:
- Provide ranchers and community-led organizations with technical assistance to accelerate on-the-ground delivery and implementation of conservation and improved grassland management practices.
- Wildlife Co-Benefits – Improve population levels and related outcomes for grassland species:
- Improve landscape permeability for pronghorn and other ungulates by removing and modifying fence and installing structures to minimize mortality at road crossings and migration bottleneck sites.
- Increase habitat for monarch butterfly and other pollinators.
- Sustain populations of lesser and greater prairie chicken through restoration of meadows and removing or marking fence around leks.
- Projects that help identify and address limiting factors for grassland obligate songbirds.
- Promote black-footed ferret conservation.
- The Southern Plains Grassland Program seeks to make more than $10 million in grants over the next five years, building upon the contributions from Cargill and Sysco with additional public and private conservation funding.
- Projects in the following areas are eligible for Southern Plains Grasslands support: Eastern Colorado, Kansas, southern Nebraska, Northeastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle.
Eligible and Ineligible Entities
- Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, rancher and community-led organizations, educational institutions, tribal governments and organizations, and state or local units of governments (e.g. state agricultural and/or conservation agencies, counties, townships, cities, conservation districts, utility districts, drainage districts, etc.).
- Ineligible applicants include for-profit entities and unincorporated individuals.
For more information, visit https://www.nfwf.org/programs/southern-plains-grassland-program?activeTab=tab-1