Western Working Lands for Wildlife Frameworks


About Working Lands for Wildlife

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) is the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s premier approach for conserving America’s working lands to benefit people, wildlife and rural communities. WLFW uses win-win solutions to target voluntary, incentive-based conservation that improves agricultural productivity and wildlife habitat on working lands. WLFW takes an ecosystem approach, but focal wildlife species guide conservation delivery and are used as barometers for success because their habitat needs represent healthy, functioning systems.

Conservation in Great Plains Grasslands

Temperate grasslands are among the world’s most imperiled ecosystems. Yet, some of the world’s largest remaining and most intact grasslands exist in the Great Plains. The Sandhills grasslands of Nebraska are the 2nd most intact “true” prairie ecoregion in the world, behind the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe. These types of working grassland regions, embedded within an intensively managed agricultural matrix, provide a factory for US beef, migratory species, grassland songbirds, and upland game hunting - all of which benefit rural economies.

Conservation in the Sagebrush Biome

The sagebrush biome is one of the largest habitat types in North America, spanning 175 million acres in 13 western states and two Canadian provinces. Land tenure is a patchwork of public, Tribal and private lands, with many of the most productive and well-watered valley bottoms in private ownership. WLFW continues to capitalize on sage grouse as a biome-wide focal species for its wide-ranging distribution, diverse seasonal habitat needs, and sensitivity to threats impacting working lands. Maintaining vibrant rural economies in these landscapes results in the multi-generational legacy of stewardship and ranching culture on which sagebrush-reliant wildlife depend.