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Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area Dedication

posted Nov 16, 2010, 9:04 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition   [ updated Jan 30, 2011, 6:24 AM ]
US Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar (pictured) announced that the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area will target 1.1 million acres of privately -held ranch lands for voluntary conservation easements.  The Legacy Program hopes to set aside these acres to protect them from fragmentation, energy development and other forces that are at work to diminish the remaining 3.5 million acres of tall grass prairie in Kansas.  The dedication was held Friday, November 12, 2010, at the Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, with about 200 people attending the ceremony.  
Salazar and a complement of other speakers that included governor-elect and US Senator Sam Brownback, KGLC Chairman and past Chairman of the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance Bill Sproul; Mike Beam, senior vice president for the Kansas Livestock Association; and Mike Hayden, secretary of Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, touted the benefits of protecting the Flint Hills for future generations since it represents almost all of the remaining tall grass prairie ecosystem (less than four percent of the original intact tall grass landscape covering most of the upper midwest including virtually all of the corn belt states).
The Legacy Program will use voluntary, perpetual easements that will pay participating ranchers 30-40 percent of the appraised land value in return for not subdividing or commercially developing their grazing lands.  The easements allow the owners to retain their grazing and other agricultural uses and the easement will follow the land as it passes to heirs or new owners.  Easements are not new to the Flint Hills as there are already about 60,000 acres protected through the efforts of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area Dedication Photos

Flint Hills Legacy Cons. Area Slideshow

Photos by Tim Christian, KGLC Coordinator