Settlers were the ones granted to claim 160 acres of land for only $10 through the Homestead Act which was passed in 1860 in which, "Once the claim had been occupied for five years, it became the settler's property"(Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Program, 2005). The home for the prairie dogs, and other creatures were destroyed, more so for these creatures which in the eyes of humans were pests to their fields. More and more animals were being added to the endangered list as the settlers began to suffer the consequences of inhabiting the home of the prairie dogs. Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team (2005) also stated that, "Few people recognized the ecological sensitivity of the Great Plains or realized that native grasses held the prairie soil together. Without native vegetation, winds carried away topsoil planted with crops. This problem became evident during the drought which caused the Dust Bowl and black blizzards of the 1930s when many farmers lost their land. It wasn't until after this devastation that range management and soil conservation practices were developed."
"Prairie dog colonies are unique ecosystems that attract a wide variety of wildlife" (Black-Footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team, 2005).