The Northern Plains-Woodworth site (Woodworth), is a restored prairie in an undulating matrix of small lakes, ponds and ephemeral water bodies (re. prairie potholes). The site is administered by the Department of the Interior (DOI), National Fish and Wildlife, National Wildlife Refuge.
Site location description
The Northern Plains-Woodworth site is located at ~ 3 miles SE of the town of Woodworth, ND. The Northern Plains-Woodworth site is part of the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge and is at the center of one of the largest roadless blocks of native prairie left in the Upper Great Plains.
Site history & management
This site has been restored to native vegetation, structure and function.
Site specific topics & science rationale
Woodworth provides a baseline understanding of a core wildland system that is historically representative of the region and provides meaningful comparison to the other sites in the region that are managed with different degrees of grazing intensity. While there is little urban development in the area, this site is paired with other grassland sites within the NEON continental design: it provides a contrast to sites that may receive chemical climate inputs from agronomic practices, as well as sites from nearby growing urban environments. The Woodworth site also provides an understanding of tall grass prairie environments and serves as a benchmark for detecting and exploring the causes and consequences of environmental change taking place throughout the grasslands of the Northern Plains Domain, with results relevant to semi-arid grassland ecosystems worldwide.
Woodworth contains a mix of native grasslands, tame grasses and legumes with many species of wildflowers, and unique xeric (dry) mixed-grass prairies containing a plant community unique to North Dakota and the Great Plains.
Overall, the Northern Plains-Woodworth site retains most of the features representative of pre-settlement biotic and edaphic conditions, with large native herbivores. The Refuge and surrounding area also provides breeding and resting habitat for more than 293 bird species, and has been designated as one of America's Top 100 Globally Important Bird Areas (IBA) by the American Bird Conservancy.