Bison Reintroduction

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Dakota County, Minn., MN

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About the Program

Category: County Resiliency (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

Dakota County, in conjunction with the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, has reintroduced the plains bison to the prairie in Spring Lake Park Reserve in an effort to restore one of the prime drivers of this ecosystem: grazing. The bison’s physical and behavioral traits had profound impacts on the prairie. A keystone animal, bison impact their world by focusing their grazing on grasses, giving flowers the ability to compete, and diversifying the plant species and the physical structure of the prairie. During the planning phase of the project, the Natural Resource staff compiled pre-treatment data on plants, bumblebees, breeding birds, small mammals and moths and butterflies. Surveys will continue for years in the effort to ascertain the impact that the bison have on the prairie that they are living in.

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