Northern Great Plains

The Northern Great Plains is experiencing unprecedented climate-driven extremes, including severe drought, floods, and wildfires. These changes threaten economic sectors such as agriculture and recreation and affect the health, well-being, and livelihood of the region’s residents.

    Key Points:

  • While adaptation efforts are underway, climate change creates complex tradeoffs and tests the resilience of the region’s residents, especially rural, Indigenous, and low-income immigrant populations. Shifts in energy demand, production, and policy will change land-use needs for energy infrastructure and affect energy-related livelihoods.
  • Adaptation efforts in the region include farmers in Nebraska testing new soil health management methods, Indigenous communities returning buffalo to their lands, ranchers returning less productive farmland to grassland for forage production, and local communities working to improve flood readiness. Many adaptation solutions developed by the agricultural community also support mitigation by sequestering carbon.
  • One increasingly successful adaptation strategy for responding to flood and natural disasters is the grassroots formation of local groups and coalitions to assist communities with disaster recovery and long-term adaptation. These groups are a mechanism for local communities to come together in mutual aid to plan for and support each other in response to flooding.
  • Across the region, wind electricity generation tripled between 2011 and 2021 as states and cities adopt clean energy technologies to offset emissions that exacerbate climate change. The region is home to a growing number of Tribes that are leading the nation’s renewable energy transition by installing clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydropower.

View the Northern Great Plains chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment >>


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Banner Image Credit

Native prairie in east-central North Dakota. Image credit: Rick Bohn, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mountain-Prairie region, CC-BY-2.0,, via Flickr

Last modified
20 November 2023 - 12:20pm