The Northeast Prairies/Elkhorn River Geographic Focus Area (GFA) covers the northeastern part of the RWBJV Administrative Area, bounded on the north by the Missouri River and on the south by the Platte River. The landscape was once covered by tallgrass and mixed-grass prairie. It still contains over 1.3 million acres of grassland and about 320,000 acres of wetlands, including the Todd Valley playa wetland complex. Along the Elkhorn River, habitats in the floodplain and steep drainages vary from savannah to dense forest.
A variety of grassland birds nest in the region; migrating waterfowl, waterbirds, and shorebirds use the Elkhorn River and Todd Valley wetlands, and the river provides breeding habitat for Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers.
Most of the region’s grasslands have been converted to agriculture – primarily corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. However, nearly 10% of the grassland area has been re-established through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The principal threat to the quality of remaining grasslands is encroachment by invasive plants such as eastern red cedar and smooth brome.