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Thanks to whomever posted the link about Kansas prairie restoration. When I was President of Burroughs Audubon in the 1970s, the creation of a Tallgrass Prairie National Park or Monument in Kansas was one of our major conservation causes. There were three sites under consideration, each about 50-60,000 acres. Unfortunately, proponents of the park had not taken the time and trouble to cultivate landowner support, and the owners, fearing condemnation of their lands and that Bison would communivate Brucellosis to their cattle, successfully banded together via an organization entitled "Grassroots" to oppose the park.  That was a shame because Tallgrass Prairie was said to be the only ecosystem in the United States not represented in the national park system. 
 
The only important early result of our efforts (and those of other organizations promoting the park) was the acquisition of the 8,000 acre Konza Prairie tract by the Nature Conservancy and its subsequent donation to Kansas State University for the study of tallgrass prairie ecology.
 
Eventually, however, local opposition died down, and, in 2005,  the Nature Conservancy acquired at a nearly 11,000 acre tract in Chase County, KS, which is being operated cooperatively with the National Park Service.
 
In 1989, the Nature Conservancy acquired 39,000 acres in Northeast Oklahoma, which is known as the "Oklahoma Tallgrass Prairie Preserve."  Also used for research projects, it may be the closet thing to what the original proponents of a Tallgrass Prairie National Park had in mind.
 
My grand vision has yet to be achieved, however. I envisioned a private "Tallgrass Prairie Museum" next to a sizable public "Tall Grass National Monument," which would do for the tallgrass ecosystem what the famous "Sonora Desert Museum" and adjacent "Saguaro National Monument" near Tucson, AZ have done to educate people about the Sonora desert ecosystem.
 
The Flint Hills of central Kansas and northern Oklahoma is the only area where large tracts of virgin tallgrass prairie still exist, and the establishment of reserves and preserves free of wind farms may be the best hope for the survival of sizeable populations of Greater Prairie Chickens. Though not exactly representative of the deep soil tallgrass ecosystem of states like Iowa and Illinois (and parts of Missouri) where virgin tallgrass prairie once covered large tracts, it is the best example remaining. (Plowing was much less feasible because the presence of flint chert near the surface inhibited it.) It is a subject that should interest all of us.
 
 
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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