Minnesota Prairie Restoration with the Nature Conservancy
Renee Huset & Amy Schmelling
Minnesota once boasted 18 million acres of the world’s largest prairie, but agriculture and development has significantly decreased the amount of prairie in the state to under 1 percent of its original acreage. With this in mind, efforts intended to bring back prairie land must seek to both preserve land that is currently native prairie as well as restore lands that have remnants of the prairie grasses that once grew there. Working with data provided by the Nature Conservancy (TNC), this project utilizes Geographic Information System (GIS) tools including zonal statistics and times to target prime locations for prairie restoration projects with considerations for private, unpaved land, proximity to existing preserves and developed land, land quality for prairie restoration projects, and land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Using GIS and spatial analysis, this project identifies the top locations for future TNC prairie restoration projects in the state.