top of page

Preserving America's Grasslands: Insights from Tate Lantz on the Central Grasslands

As the world grapples with the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss, the preservation of our natural landscapes has never been more critical. In a recent enlightening episode of our podcast, we had the privilege of hosting Tate Lantz, the Assistant State Conservationist for Field Offices in Rapid City, SD. Lantz, with his extensive background in range science and conservation, shared valuable insights into the Central Grasslands Roadmap, an ambitious initiative aimed at preserving one of America’s most vital ecosystems.

To listen to the full podcast, CLICK HERE.

Tate Lantz
Tate Lantz

Tate Lantz’s journey is deeply rooted in the grasslands of South Dakota. Growing up on a cattle ranch near Winner, SD, he developed an intrinsic connection with the land that shaped his career path. After majoring in range science at South Dakota State University, Lantz embarked on a career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), where he now plays a pivotal role in grassland conservation.

The Central Grasslands Roadmap, spearheaded by the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, represents a significant effort to address the alarming loss of grasslands. Over the past decade, the United States alone has seen the disappearance of approximately 50 million acres of grasslands – an area roughly the size of South Dakota. This loss not only threatens biodiversity, particularly grassland birds but also impacts the carbon sequestration capacity of these ecosystems, a crucial factor in climate change mitigation.

Lantz’s involvement in the Roadmap began in 2019, focusing on fostering collaboration and partnerships to preserve grasslands. The initiative spans across three countries – Mexico, the United States, and Canada – and encompasses 600 million acres. It brings together various sectors, including indigenous communities, landowners, ranchers, federal agencies, industry, state and provincial agencies, NGOs, academia, and foundations, highlighting the need for diverse and inclusive conservation strategies.

One of the most compelling aspects of the Roadmap is its commitment to economic sustainability. In South Dakota, the initiative focuses on making grassland farming economically viable, recognizing the interconnectedness of environmental health and economic resilience. This approach includes exploring innovative solutions like carbon credit systems and educating producers on sustainable management practices that enhance biodiversity and productivity.

The challenges facing South Dakota's grasslands are significant. Urban sprawl, agricultural conversion, and tree encroachment continue to threaten these ecosystems. However, the Roadmap’s comprehensive strategy, which emphasizes community involvement and education, offers a beacon of hope. It acknowledges the critical role that grasslands play in our environment and the necessity of preserving them for future generations.

Tate Lantz's insights during the podcast were both informative and inspiring. He highlighted the importance of the Roadmap in not just preserving grasslands but also in fostering a deeper understanding of their value. The initiative goes beyond conservation; it's about transforming the way we view and interact with our natural landscapes. It's a story of hope, collaboration, and the potential for positive change.

As we continue to navigate the complexities of environmental conservation, the Central Grasslands Roadmap stands as a testament to what can be achieved through collective effort and innovative thinking. Tate Lantz’s perspective sheds light on the challenges and opportunities ahead, reminding us of the critical role each of us plays in safeguarding our planet's ecosystems.

Stay tuned for more discussions on grassland conservation and the roadmap's impact across North America. The preservation of our grasslands is not just an environmental issue; it's a matter of our survival and the legacy we leave for future generations. Let's join forces, as Tate Lantz and many others have, to ensure that these vital ecosystems continue to thrive.

To listen to the full podcast, CLICK HERE.



Useful Links:

Central Grasslands Roadmap Home page:

Our recommendation for understanding the roadmap: Roadmap Executive Summary



Visit these “Growing Resilience Through Our Soils” information pages:

1. Podcast page for drought planning fact sheets, Q&As, news, podcasts and more.

2. Video page to watch videos of other ranchers’ journeys toward improved rangeland/pasture.

3.Follow Growing Resilience on social media:


bottom of page