A unique and highly diverse area in eastern Kansas known as the Flint Hills Tallgrass Region has been named as new conservation area.
Called the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area (FHLCA), the area will be a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Today, less than 4 percent of the once-vast tallgrass prairie remains; nearly 80 percent of what remains lies within the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma.
The purpose of FHLCA is to help maintain the integrity of tallgrass prairie wildlife habitat , stream water quality and the rich agricultural heritage of the Flint Hills by acquiring and protecting up to 1.1 million acres of habitat through voluntary, perpetual conservation easements. The easements will prohibit commercial development, but still allow for wildlife grazing.
These conservation easements will protect habitat for more than 100 species of grassland birds and 500 plant species , and ensure that the region's sustainable ranching culture which directly supports conservation of the tallgrass prairie will continue.
"I am honored to stand with the diverse and visionary partners who are leading the effort to conserve the working landscapes and natural resources of the Flint Hills for future generations," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
The Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area is the product of efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, private landowners, and other agencies and partners