Friday, November 12, 2010
The Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area project will protect up to 1.1 million acres of one of the world's largest unfragmented areas of native tallgrass prairie.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar made the announcement today at the Great Plains Nature Center. The FHLCA will provide easement provisions to private property owners in eastern Kansas.
"The ranchers who take on the responsibility of taking care of these 1.1 million acres are the ones who are the stewardships of this land and it's a heritage that we need to celebrate," said Salazar.
Today, less than 4 percent of the once-vast tallgrass prairie remains. Nearly 80 percent of what remains is located within the Flint Hills.
"Further conservation easements to preserve this beautiful painting that the Flint Hills is. Almost any treasure, to be enjoyed, it has to be first protected," said Sam Brownback, Kansas governor-elect.
Local grassroots contributed to the voluntary easement-driven approach. Service conservation easements would allow for continued agricultural use but restrict commercial developments. Participating properties would remain on local tax rolls.