Returning Grazing Animals to a Minnesota Prairie System: Politics, Science, and Beyond
Attendees in this session will hear from a host of individuals involved in the process of returning livestock to the Chippewa Prairie in southwest Minnesota. Chippewa Prairie is highly regarded as one of Minnesota’s prairie gems. Historically privately owned, the majority of the Chippewa Prairie complex is owned and managed through a decades-old partnership of The Nature Conservancy and the MN Department of Natural Resources, among other organizations. In addition, many high-quality peripheral tracts remain in private ownership. Presenters will discuss the process, politics, science, implementation, and associated monitoring related to the reintroduction of livestock to this 4,000 acre-plus grassland through a modified patch burn-grazing system. Additionally, we will discuss issues of project goals, sponsor/donor expectations, neighborhood partnerships, public access, local politics, perceptions, infrastructure (fence and water) challenges, legalities, and associated monitoring of the project in relation to vegetation and wildlife.