Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS) was established in 2007, in part to preserve and protect the cultural landscape of the massacre area. Protection of native biological resources, including animals, is integral to preserving the cultural landscape. Sand Creek Massacre NHS is primarily composed of shortgrass prairie and sage shrubland. Sand Creek, an intermittent stream, crosses the site. Shortgrass prairies support numerous animal and plant species, including federal and state listed endangered, threatened, and candidate species.
The natural environment has impacted the lifestyles of humans who have used the area for the past 8,000-10,000 years. Humans have also left their mark on the landscape. The site and surrounding area have been affected by hunting, grazing, cultivation, water diversion, development, introduction of non-native species, and local extinction (extirpation) of native species such as pronghorn antelope and bison. The landscape of Sand Creek Massacre NHS is a record of human relationships with the natural environment, the contrasting values of Indians and Euroamericans, and their competition for limited resources. The environmental history of the site describes how the impacts of human actions contributed to how the environment changed over time.