Welcome to spring! As we leave a winter filled with unusual weather and temperature swings, let’s hope for a spring filled with “normal” weather conditions. Weather patterns and conditions drive productivity on the prairies. We can have “wet” periods that create incredible plant and wildlife production, or “dry” periods that create stress across the landscape. For multiple years now, the U.S. prairies have experienced a “wet” period. Consequently, the resulting bounty is record numbers of waterfowl and mostly strong reproductive output from grassland nesting birds.
Considering these numbers, the uninformed might feel the prairies have all of the habitat needed for bird populations. The truth of the matter is we are very fortunate for a long streak of wet conditions and a landscape that still supports this water. However, we know weather conditions will change, and we know our current annual loss of both grassland and wetland habitat is at rates greater than what partners can protect, enhance, or restore.
Nevertheless, our goal in the PPJV is to continue working together in partnership during both wet and dry years so the “table” is always set for when sufficient snow and rain falls on the prairies.
In this issue of the e-news, we present some of the highlights from the PPJV for the last year by reporting on a number of state-specific accomplishments – accomplishments that help keep the “table” set. Along these lines, we are very impressed that in 2014, PPJV partners protected, restored, or enhanced some 160,000 acres within the region. Great work, and great progress! Please enjoy the following stories and may this time of year revitalize your days, weeks, and months.
Casey Stemler, PPJV Coordinator