Grasslands Enhancement Project Shares Costs

DU supports grazing on N.D. school and public lands

Rotating cattle through multiple pastures provides many benefits to people and wildlife. Benefits from rotational grazing practices include improved soil health, plant diversity, drought tolerance and water quality. However, transitioning to a rotational grazing system can be expensive. Ducks Unlimited and partner North Dakota Natural Resources Trust (NDNRT) will share the cost of water, fencing and power for people who lease state school trust and public lands.

“Lessees have a need for quality water, cross fencing and power to allow for rotational grazing practices,” said Dane Buysse, DU biologist who is leading the program. “This pilot project will make it more cost-effective to better utilize leased land.”

The Grasslands Enhancement Pilot Project is focused on the one-third of the Prairie Pothole Region that falls within the North Dakota Bakken oil field. DU and NDNRT received a grant from the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) to provide the incentives.

“The area has a high wetland density and waterfowl production,” Buysse said. “OHF grant funds come from oil extraction taxes. This project will directly benefit the oil production area, providing incentives for local producers, as well as improve habitat for wildlife and the sportsmen and women who recreate there.”

Rotational grazing provides longer rest-recovery periods for grasslands, which improves habitat for a variety of grassland bird species. Healthy grasslands can improve water quality by filtering out impurities and ease flooding by holding more water.

For more information, contact Dane Buysse with Ducks Unlimited at 701-425-4852 or dbuysse@ducks.org.