Understanding our environment

Conservation resources for Douglas County landowners

Two hundred years ago Douglas County was nearly 90 percent tallgrass prairie, part of a vast ecosystem that covered more than 170 million acres from Canada through Texas and east as far as Ohio. These rolling hills and plains were interrupted by fingers of forest that hugged north-facing slopes, and the rivers and streams that snaked across the prairie.

Today, cultivated land, planted pasturelands and young woodlands have replaced the prairies and old-growth forests. But vestiges of the original landscape still can be found scattered across the county. As part of a project funded by the Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council the Kansas Biological Survey has worked with County residents to develop strategies for conserving and restoring this natural heritage for future generations. This site provides links to organizations that connect private landowners with expertise and cost-share assistance to manage prairies and forests, and to re-establish these native ecosystems where they once thrived.

General resource for landowners:
Native prairie hay meadows: A landowner's management guide

Cost-share programs for landowners:
Ducks Unlimited Partners on Private Lands program
Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism Habitat First Program
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs
Kansas Forest Service "Trees for Clean Water" Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Nonprofit conservation organizations:
Monarch Watch - free milkweed for restoration projects
Friends of the KAW
Grassland Heritage Foundation
Jayhawk Audubon Society
Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams
Kansas Land Trust
Kansas Native Plant Society
The Nature Conservancy in Kansas

State and county agencies:
Douglas County Conservation District
Kansas Biological Survey

To have staff from the Kansas Biological Survey visit your native prairie or woodland please complete the Landowner information form or use our online webform.  You also may e-mail Jennifer Delisle at the Kansas Biological Survey.

View the presentation shown at public forums held in 2018: Douglas County Natural Areas and Historic Sites presentation (PDF).

 


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