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Southern Plains Land Trust

Prairie wildlife is stuck between a rock and a hard place. With the crush of sprawl in urban areas and the dominance of agriculture in rural ones, many native creatures have few places to turn. SPLT's solution: buy the land, protect habitat for native flora and fauna, and let the prairie heal.

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Land Acquisition

Class

Environment 

Beneficiaries

General Public
Outdoor Recreationists
Wildlife Enthusiasts

Description

SPLT acquires land in fee or through conservation easements. We prioritize lands that are close to our existing preserves, key public lands, or conservation initiatives on private lands. We manage lands in our preserve network for nature: prioritizing the needs of native flora and fauna and the ecosystems on which they depend. This is our sole capital campaign.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Measures of program success include:
1 - the number of acreage in our preserve network. We have protected over 25,000 acres. We own over 23,000 acres and hold conservation easements on an additional 2,000 acres.
2 - new landowners and conservation buyers are approaching SPLT to participate in our land acquisition efforts.
3 - native flora and fauna communities are intact and rebounding from past land uses.

Public Lands Policy

Class

Environment 

Beneficiaries

General Public
Outdoor Recreationists
Wildlife Enthusiasts

Description

SPLT advocates for native flora and fauna on public lands in the Southern Plains, including federal national grasslands adjacent to our preserves and state lands in our focus area.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

SPLT evaluates progress in this program in terms of on the ground protection, considering whether agency officials and staff are communicating to the public that the Southern Plains national grasslands and other public lands are a wildlife and biodiversity treasure; and whether those entities are effecting and implementing policies that will preserve natural values. One firm benchmark we've achieved is a conservation lease on Colorado State Land Board land.

Education & Outreach

Class

Environment 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years)
General Public
Outdoor Recreationists
Wildlife Enthusiasts

Description

SPLT conducts education and outreach activities to inform and excite people about the fascinating natural history of the shortgrass prairie in the Southern Plains. Specific activities include: participating in events and festivals, visiting classrooms and organizations, and conducting tours of our preserves.

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Evidence of Program's Success

If successful in our education and outreach, we will increasingly see members of the public visiting and appreciating prairie land in the Southern Plains. This larger constituency will help diversify the economy in the region and be a force for greater wildlife and biodiversity protection.

Land Management & Restoration

Class

Environment 

Beneficiaries

General Public
Outdoor Recreationists
Wildlife Enthusiasts

Description

SPLT manages its preserves for native flora and fauna. In 2017, we began a stream restoration effort on Raven's Nest Nature Preserve. Collaborating with Colorado Open Lands, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Park Service, we planted 2,000 willows and cottonwoods on Rule Creek, which flows into the Arkansas River. In 2018, we joined with these organizations and our neighbors to plant over 1,000 willows and hundreds of cottonwoods at multiple locations on our Heartland Ranch preserve. We will continue this effort, to bring back a healthy prairie stream.

An ongoing effort is ensuring that wildlife can access our preserves by making the fence wildlife friendly. In addition, we regularly monitor our properties to ensure that livestock and hunters do not trespass on our lands. We also pull or mow non-native plants whenever we find them. We hold volunteer work parties to improve fences and conduct garbage pickups. (Budget included in land acquisition program)

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

To be successful, SPLT's lands would contain healthy populations of native flora and fauna. Adverse impacts from non-native organisms would be negligible. Harmful land uses would effectively be curtailed in order to allow natural processes to establish, to the maximum extent practical. In other words, SPLT's preserves would be flourishing with prairie life.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.