Thank You for Investing in Nature
We are at a serious crossroads for this planet and her many inhabitants. As we face the biggest challenges of our lifetimes, climate change and biodiversity loss, action has never been more important. Every acre we can conserve, every species we can save, every community we can help—it all makes a difference for our shared future. Thank you for joining us in this work and for investing in the lands and waters on which all life depends.
Keep scrolling to explore some of the conservation wins you made possible in 2022!
Buffalo Head Home to Tribal Lands
To support Indigenous-led conservation, food sovereignty and restoration of cultural traditions, The Nature Conservancy is proud to be working with the InterTribal Buffalo Council (ITBC). About 25 buffalo from Cross Ranch Preserve will be transferred to Tribes in North Dakota, with another 70 animals from Ordway Preserve in South Dakota that will be distributed next year. Through ITBC, bison from other TNC preserves are also being returned to Tribes in Minnesota and South Dakota. Bison or buffalo are a keystone species whose role is integral to thousands of natural relationships across North America. Their restoration on Tribal lands is an essential step in repairing these relationships, which have been intentionally severed by the U.S. government, enabling colonization by European settlement and the ensuing violence against Native people as well as the extensive conversion of natural areas. TNC is proud to support ITBC in their vision of healing and restoration for both people and nature.
Making the Business Case for Soil Health
Thanks to support from corporate partners, TNC’s Ecosystem Services Market Consortium pilot got a boost this year! Hormel Foods and Target, along with MBOLD, a coalition of Minnesota-based food and agriculture business leaders and innovators, have joined forces to advance the pilot project. In all, corporate partners, including General Mills, have pledged an additional $2 million for farmers to participate in the market and adopt practices such as cover cropping, reduced tillage and nutrient management. These soil health practices can help farmers make a big difference in helping improve water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
More Than a Million Trees Planted
Working long days while negotiating rough and rocky terrain, our planting crews in northeastern Minnesota have put more than 1.4 million climate-adapted trees in the ground this year alone. Planting a mix of species including white pine, red oak, white spruce and yellow birch, TNC is helping build diversity and resilience in the Northwoods. Of the trees planted in 2022, about 130,000 were planted in the path of the 2021 Greenwood Fire. Our goal is to ensure our future forests can better withstand increasingly warmer, drier weather.
Repairing Rangeland Riparian Areas
In western South Dakota, our conservation teams are working hard to repair riparian corridors and restore natural hydrology in prairie streams. Through 2022, teams installed 110 riparian structures, including beaver dam analogues, for the purpose of holding and slowing down water along a total of 12 river miles. This restoration work benefits fish, wildlife and ranching communities alike while making the surrounding areas more resilient to climate impacts like drought and wildfire.
Preserving and Protecting Prairies
TNC is also protecting important bird and wildlife habitat in South Dakota within the Prairie Pothole Region by helping landowners access conservation easements. The area contains native grasslands and wetlands that attract so many breeding waterfowl it is known as North America’s duck factory. To date, TNC conservation easement technicians have helped protect more than 110,000 acres in this region, benefitting water, wildlife and people.
Reinvesting in the Mississippi’s Headwaters
In the Mississippi River’s headwaters area, TNC is continuing our work of protecting land for water’s sake. With help from TNC, the Mississippi Headwaters Board’s protection program has protected 4,580 acres along 39 miles of the river’s shoreline in service of the board’s goal of protecting the first 400 miles of the Mississippi River. Most recently, TNC supported the board’s efforts to secure $1 million in bonding through the Minnesota Legislature for a new Reinvest In Minnesota (RIM) easement program designed to protect and improve working grasslands. Well-managed working grasslands benefit the river itself, as well as lakes and groundwater within the headwaters area—a region that provides drinking water for more than a third of Minnesotans.
Advancing Natural Climate Solutions
TNC has recently released a new report, Biological Carbon Capture Solutions for Resilient Natural and Working Lands in North Dakota. This report is intended to share a high-level picture of the nature-based solutions available in North Dakota and will be used with state agencies, local governments and natural resource managers to advance regenerative land-use practices that not only capture carbon but also help producers stay profitable while providing clean water and wildlife habitat.
Policy Wins for Nature
Thanks in part to the advocacy of supporters like you, historic climate and infrastructure legislation was passed in the form of the Inflation Reduction Act. The policies in the Inflation Reduction Act are the single biggest investment to tackle the climate crisis in U.S. history, by far. And it will put the U.S. on the path to a massive 40% reduction in carbon emissions by the end of this decade. This type of legislative action is made possible in part by the advocacy of supporters like you! Learn how you can get involved in speaking up for nature in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.