American Prairie Reserve
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The American Prairie Reserve (APR) is an independent non-profit organization that has privately undertaken a project in northeastern Montana to create a wildlife conservation area of over three million contiguous acres through a combination of both private and public lands.
In 1999, The Nature Conservancy determined that the Northern Great Plains were the most viable for restoring the region's habitats and conserving existing diversity of plants and animals. APR has developed and has begun using a 7-point scale to evaluate APR land based on ten ecological conditions including plant diversity, grazing, fire, hydrology and predators to measure the impact of APR management activities.
APR believes that, "By purchasing a relatively small number of acres from willing sellers in northeastern Montana, we hope to link together the millions of acres of public land already set aside for wildlife and visitor access in the region, thereby creating a seamless landscape reminiscent of that seen by Lewis and Clark." As of April, 2018 the Reserve area consisted of 399,000 acres in northeastern Montana, about one-fourth owned and the remainder leased. Once a piece of land is fully owned by the American Prairie Reserve, a conservation easement is placed on the property. The conservation easements prohibit plowing of native grasses and other activities such as development or fragmentation of the land that might destroy or alter the native habitat and helps to ensure public access. The majority of the opposition to the American Prairie Reserve stems from ranchers whose land the reserve is attempting to purchase.
Approximately ten percent of APR's funding comes from private foundations supporting land conservation and the remaining ninety percent comes from individuals living in 46 different states and eight different countries. Approximately 20% of its donors reside in the state of Montana. As of December 2013, APR has raised $67.3 million in cash and pledges since 2002.
Major donors include Forrest Mars, Jr. and John Mars of the Mars family, Hansjoerg Wyss, and Susan Packard Orr. Current board members, Erivan and Helga Haub, Gib and Susan Myers and George and Susan Matelich, are also major donors.
- " American Prairie Reserve: 2013 Fall Gathering", American Prairie Reserve, p5, 2013
- "Expanding the Reserve". Americanprairie.org. 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- "FAQs". Americanprairie.org. 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- Matthew Brown (2012-08-22). "For Sale: A Way of Life". The Durango Herald. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- "Financials". Americanprairie.org. 2016. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
- Seth Lubove (2013-05-21). "Bison-Loving Billionaires Rile Ranchers With Land Grab in American West". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- American Prairie Reserve, IRS Form 990, 2011 Archived 2013-10-20 at the Wayback Machine (pdf)
- Basic APR property map on Building the Reserve page; interactive ArcGIS map also available
- Citizen science platform iNaturalist APR species (mostly animal) observations