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Lincoln and Lancaster county are located in the Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion, which was historically covered by native tallgrass prairie and home to bison, antelope, grassland birds, and many other plants and animals. The tallgrass prairie contributed to the fertile soils that resulted in productive farming within the region. This tallgrass prairie is a remarkable, and unfortunately now rare, part of our natural heritage. It also serves as a core resource imperative for our community. Preserving the Prairie Corridor is an opportunity to celebrate our natural heritage and to build upon the unique sense of place and strengths of Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Photo courtesy of Michael Forsberg

According to…

the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, 2005, “Early explorers described the tallgrass region as a sea of grass with open horizons and abundant wildflowers rooted in rich soils. The tallgrass prairie once extended from eastern Nebraska to Indiana and from Texas to southern Canada. In Nebraska, the Tallgrass Prairie Ecoregion covers the eastern fourth of the state. Today less than one percent of tallgrass prairie remains in the continental United States. Approximately two percent of Nebraska’s tallgrass prairie remains mostly as remnants less than eighty acres in size.”

Additionally,

 

Candace Savage writes in Prairie – A Natural History, “Taken as a whole, the Great Plains grasslands now rank as one of the most extensively altered ecosystems on Earth. At least 464 prairie species have declined to such rarity that their long-term survival is in question.”

In 2012,

 

a master plan was completed for the “Salt Valley Greenway and Prairie Corridor” that served as the foundation for the implementation of the Prairie Corridor. It evaluated both habitat diversity and corridor connectivity, and recommended priorities for natural resource preservation and enhancement based upon those measures. Key resources in the corridor include virgin prairie remnants, freshwater and saline wetlands, and riparian areas along the stream corridor. Conservation is accomplished through a voluntary, incentive-based approach, working with willing sellers to acquire land or permanent conservation easements.