What We Do


The Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC is responsible for identifying and prioritizing the scientific uncertainties and needs that can inform better conservation management. Climate change, shifts in land-use, urban expansion, agricultural changes, are all contributing stressors impacting the plains and prairie potholes landscape. Research supported by the LCC is directed at maximizing habitat quality within key ecosystems from palustrine wetlands, native grasslands and restored grasslands to sage prairie and riparian habitat and river systems.

We are also connected with a broader network that crosses state, jurisdictional, and international boundaries. This larger LCC network includes 22 similar partnerships that are all vested in a conservation mission no single agency or natural resources organization can accomplish alone. We look beyond our own areas of expertise to create a cooperative and partnership oriented perspective, focused on developing, adapting and coordinating large-scale applied science needs in the face of 21st century environmental challenges.

This means providing the right science in the right places to the right people, with the goal of sustaining our natural resources in the face of ever-changing 21st century stressors like climate change. Working together, we can ensure a sustainable landscape that supports fish, wildlife, habitat and people.

Click below to learn more about ongoing science related to the prairie pothole region, sage-steppe ecosystems, and rivers/streams.

Prairie Potholes

State Wildlife Action Plan revisions addressing climate change
Building the foundation for international conservation planning
Interpretation of down-scaled climate change models to benefit avian conservation
Managing for resilience prairie-wetland landscapes
Regional assessment of fish habitat conditions and groundtruthing aquatic habitat models
Wetland hydroperiod and climate change: Implications for biodiversity and water availability
Developing a lakeshed delineation data layer for Midwest glacial lake
Effects of oil and gas development on grassland birds
Assessing the impacts to rural communities of wildlife habitat protection
Iowa wetland assessment and restorable wetland inventory: Improving wetland restoration planning through processing of recently collected LiDAR data
Invasive grasses in prairie and wetlands habitats
Assessment of pattern tile drainage on wetland hydrology and ecosystem services in the prairie pothole region
Rapid assessment method for wildlife issues at potential wind power sites

Sage – Steppe

Predicting bird and bat fatality risk at wind farms and proposed wind farm sites using acoustic-ultrasonic recorders
Livestock grazing and climate change impacts to sagebrush ecosystems and migratory birds
Invasive grasses in prairie and wetlands habitats
Greater Sage Grouse Response to Wind Energy Development
Targeting grassland conservation: An estimate of land-use conversion risk in the Northern Great Plains
Completion of the National Wetland Inventory for the Northern Great PlainsĀ 

Rivers – Streams

Predicting effects of climate change on native fishes in northern Great Plains streams
Cottonwood forests and songbirds of the Missouri River
Gathering surface elevation data in James River watershed
Maintaining migratory pathways of imperiled large river and small stream prairie fishes in the face of climate change and energy development