Beyond Borders: World Wildlife Fund’s Transboundary Wildlife Conservation Projects in the Northern Great Plains

Kristy Bly

Abstract


The World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Northern Great Plains Program (NGP) spans five states and two provinces across 279,000 mi2 of mixed-grass prairie. Since its inception as an ecoregional program in 2003, the WWF NGP has been engaged in numerous multijurisdictional and cross-border initiatives designed to foster communication and coordinate actions to achieve biodiversity conservation in the shared landscapes. From black-footed ferret restoration, long-billed curlew migration, and cougar research to climate change adaptation and conservation economics, we collaborate, financially contribute to, and lead over 50 projects with as many domestic and international partners. One set of partnerships is centered in northern Montana, southwest Saskatchewan, and southeast Alberta focused on conserving crucial habitats and connectivity for pronghorn. This project area is also home to other partnerships WWF participates in, such as the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, Northern Mixed Grass Transboundary Conservation Initiative, and its successor, Crossing the Medicine Line Network. While these initiatives share the common objective of fostering biodiversity conservation across boundaries, there are differences between them involving varied historical and cultural backgrounds, legal, and regulatory regimes. Nature does not recognize county, state, tribal, governmental, or international borders, thus transboundary collaboration is essential to successfully achieving common conservation objectives.

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