Covering 19,300 square miles in north-central Nebraska (one quarter of the land mass of the state), the Sandhills Ecoregion includes the largest dune system in the western hemisphere and one of the largest grass-stabilized dune regions in the world. The rolling hills of grass feature a myriad of plant species that offer a rich palette of color in each season. From crisp greens and vibrant wildflowers in the spring and summer to deep reds and purples in the fall and winter, the hills boast a quiet strength in their solitude that is truly soothing to the soul.
Although the Sandhills climate is semiarid (annual precipitation ranges from 17-23 inches each year) the permeable nature of sand allows a high infiltration rate of rain and snowmelt to form underground aquifers (part of the Ogallala Aquifer). This high water table enables many small ponds, lakes and wetlands to flourish while many rivers and streams derive the majority of their flow from groundwater discharge. This gives the region a consistent supply of water year-round in an otherwise dry climate. This dichotomy, coupled with abundant grass and little human encroachment, makes the Sandhills a safe haven for multitudes of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles and remains as one of the best examples of functioning prairie in the country.