Easement conserves land in Chase County
TOPEKA -- Ranchers Bill and Maggie Haw, Shawnee Mission, recently donated a conservation easement on 3,120 acres of native rangeland to The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The conservation easement protects land located south of Cottonwood Falls in Chase County, in the heart of the Flint Hills. Last year, the Haws also donated a conservation easement to TNC on more than 10,400 acres, the largest in Kansas history.

This latest easement brings the Haws' total contribution of donated conservation easements to more than 13,500 acres.

Native grasslands are perhaps the most important wildlife habitat in the Sunflower State. Tallgrass prairie such as that donated by the Haws is the most altered major habitat type in North America, in terms of acres lost. But in Kansas, a significant swath of tallgrass prairie -- the Flint Hills -- remains relatively intact. The Flint Hills provide and opportunity to preserve one of the last intact and functioning tallgrass prairies in the world. TNC has identified this landscape as a priority for conservation and is actively working in Kansas to maintain this important natural resource.

Conservation easements are an important tool in helping protect this and other natural areas. A conservation easement is a legally-recorded agreement between the landowner and a land trust that limits in perpetuity a property’s uses in order to protect its conservation values. Because the land remains in private ownership, with the remainder of the rights intact, property protected by an easement continues to provide property taxes and other economic benefits. Only incompatible uses of the land are restricted. Grazing, burning, and other ecologically compatible agricultural uses are typically allowed.

Most of Kansas is privately owned, so TNC works with private landowners in order to benefit the larger landscape for future generations. The recent Haw donation brings the total Flint Hills easement acreage held by TNC to 20,368 acres.

The Kansas Chapter of TNC has helped conserve more than 77,000 acres of natural land throughout the state. For more information about TNC or the Kansas Prairie Legacy Campaign, go online at or call 785-233-4400.