NCBA Cattlemen to Cattlemen
People, Programs, and Initiatives Fighting Woody Plant Encroachment in the Great Plains
Nov 29, 2022
In 2022 and 2023, Cattlemen to Cattlemen featured the NRCS Great Plains Grasslands Initiatives, with segments shot at multiple locations in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The program centers around rancher leaders in each state as well as NRCS leadership and field staff, WLFW scientists, and partners like Pheasants Forever and the U.S. Forest Service.
The first full episode of the program aired nationally on Nov. 29, 2022, with additional segments airing in 2023. Watch the full episode via the link to the right or watch all the segments via the button below.
America’s Billion-Dollar Tree Problem Is Spreading
Nov 23, 2022
Grasslands are being overrun by drought-resistant invaders that wreck animal habitats, suck up water supplies, and can cost landowners a fortune.
Fast-growing, drought-tolerant trees are slowly spreading across grasslands on every continent except Antarctica. Given how desperate we are to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, millions of new saplings sprouting each year might seem like a good thing. But in reality, their spread across vulnerable grasslands and shrublands is upending ecosystems and livelihoods. As these areas transform into woodland, wildlife disappears, water supplies dwindle, and soil health suffers. The risk of catastrophic wildfire also skyrockets.
National Wildlife Magazine
Aug 02, 2022
Heat, drought and wildfires are ravaging western wildlife while conservationists try to help ecosystems adapt.
GASPING SALMON WITH INFECTED LESIONS. Emaciated deer searching sagebrush flats for water. Clams and mussels boiled to death in their shells. Last summer, temperatures in the Northwest soared to record highs in the triple digits, killing more than 1 billion marine animals in the Salish Sea and stressing wildlife from the Pacific to the Rocky Mountains. Simultaneously, ongoing drought in the Southwest—which began in 2000 and is the region’s driest 22-year period in 1,200 years—is causing plants to wither, springs to dry up and wildfires to engulf entire landscapes.
In Nebraska’s Loess Canyons, Setting Trees Ablaze Gives Prairie Birds a Boost
For generations Great Plains ranchers saw fire as a foe. Now they're banding together and embracing it as a tool to restore grassland habitat.
On the right spring morning you might see Liza Grotelueschen walk the edge of a blackened grassland, stamping out any lingering embers. But don’t mistake the retired educator for an enemy of fire. Quite the opposite: She’s a staunch believer in its power to rejuvenate the Nebraska prairie she loves.
Back From the Brink: Restoring Prairies With Fire
Dec 11, 2021
The expansion of trees into grasslands has caused a host of economic and ecologic issues worldwide. These Nebraska landowners figured out a solution.
A half-century ago, you would be hard-pressed to find a Christmas tree on Nebraska’s wide-open plains. But these days, as eastern redcedars invade the Great Plains grasslands, trees are a dime a dozen.
National Wildlife Magazine
Pulse of the Heartland
Oct 09, 2021
Grasslands store carbon, cycle nutrients and sustain songbirds and other wildlife.
ON A PATCH OF SWAYING TALLGRASS PRAIRIE in Missouri, yellow and purple coneflowers peek above a sea of green, attracting monarch butterflies with their sweet nectar. Bumble bees hover around the dainty petals of wild bergamot while meadowlarks call amidst head-high big bluestem and eastern gamagrass.