CoNPS Webinar: The Sandsage Prairie of Colorado: A Biodiversity Hotspot Hiding in Plain Sight
Saturday, February 18, 2023; 9:30 am - 12:00 noon
Webinar Presenter: Jim Locklear, M.S.
Sandsage prairie is an ecological system unique to the central and southern Great Plains. A blend of grassland and shrubland with sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia) the signature species, sandsage prairie occurs in discontinuous tracts across eight states in association with dune fields and other areas of sandy habitat. Colorado has more sandsage prairie than any other state, an estimated two million acres on the eastern plains. This overlooked and underappreciated ecological system hosts a surprisingly high level of biological diversity, including many regionally-endemic plants and animals, ecological specialists, and species of conservation concern. Sandsage prairie is particularly important to avian ecology in the Great Plains, with 14 species of endemic or obligate grassland birds utilizing it for breeding and/or foraging habitat. The aim of this introductory webinar is to raise awareness of the importance of sandsage prairie as a biodiversity refuge and hotspot for Colorado and the Great Plains.