In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.
The USGS Northern Praire Wildlife Research Center (Jamestown, ND) is a key Mountain Prairie partner. Their web site offers an extensive collection of resources including species accounts, identification tools, resource management techniques, publications, distribution maps, and additional resources on the biotic resources of the Great Plains and the Prairie Pothole Region.
Featured Resource: PrairieMap
Historical extent of prairie grasslands [Image: Aaron Jones, adapted from Ecoregions of the United States (map), Robert G. Bailey]
PrairieMap is a geospatial data clearinghouse. Users can download spatial data layers relevant to prairie research, management, and conservation of prairie grassland ecosystems in western North America.
The North American Great Plains is a vast expanse of land that includes parts of all Mountain Prairie states and portions of Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. This semiarid region is defined on the east by the central lowlands of the mid-west states and is bounded on the west by the Rocky Mountains. Characterized not by rugged peaks but by swaying grasslands, the Great Plains is a unique landscape of short-, tall-, and mixed-grass prairie, prairie pothole wetlands, and other inimitable habitats that support a wide array of organisms.
America's Northern Plains: An Overview and Assessment of Natural Resources
Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
Effects of Climate on Numbers of Northern Prairie Wetlands
[Photo: Charlene Bessken, Bureau of Land Management]
Black-Footed Ferret Mustela nigripes
Description:The black-footed ferret is a member of the weasel family (Mustelidae), and its nearest relatives are weasels and minks. Black-footed ferrets have a black mask across the face, brownish head, black feet and legs, and a black tip on the tail.
Life History:Ferrets eat prairie dogs and live in prairie dog burrows. They typically hunt during the night. They have one litter of four to five young ("kits") each year, and the kits are dependent on their mother for the first four months.
Distribution:Black-footed ferrets were once found throughout the Great Plains, from Texas to southern Saskatchewan, Canada. Their range extended from the Rocky Mountains east through the Dakotas and south through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Where prairie dogs were found, so were black-footed ferrets. Today, the black-footed ferret has been reintroduced into parts of their former range in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and Arizona. They are also found in Nebraska, Colorado, and Utah.
Status:The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered mammals in the United States. Their population has declined largely due to habitat conversion for farming and due to efforts to eliminate prairie dogs. Black-footed ferrets were listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1967, several years prior to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. A captive breeding program was begun in 1985, and the first ferret reintroduction took place in 1991.