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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Prairie Pothole Region - More Information

Background information on the Prairie Pothole Region, DU's top conservation priority area
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Assumptions

  • The PPR cannot be "drought-proofed", therefore the best conservation strategy is to protect and restore wetlands and uplands so that when wet conditions exist in the region, all of the elements needed to quickly re-build duck populations will be in place.
  • Because the destruction of grasslands and wetlands will accelerate as world demands for food and fiber grow, investments in land protection now will reduce the cost of conservation to future generations.
  • Native/natural habitats are as good or better than restored or created habitats for improving waterfowl production.
  • Protecting and restoring land is not an "either-or" proposition, and there will be appropriate times and locations to do both.
  • Easements and other protection tools that do not require DU to hold title to land are the preferred approaches to land protection, given the relatively higher costs of fee title acquisitions, ongoing costs associated with fee title holdings, and political obstacles to owning land for conservation.
  • Nest success and hen survival are limiting duck population growth.
  • Duck nest success increases as the percentage of perennial cover in a landscape increases.
  • Recruitment rates and thresholds for population stability can be accurately identified through simulation models, hence we will correctly target landscapes.

Strategies

  • Expand our programs from direct, site-specific intervention to include indirect approaches that target government and corporate policy, human attitudes through education and human action through extension.
  • Focus more direct intervention on the retention of targeted wetlands and tracts of native/natural uplands as the basis for having the greatest effect on waterfowl populations.
  • Develop a mechanism for continually testing the assumptions on which our vision and underling strategies are based.
  • Maintain a conservation program for the PPR that is dynamic and responsive to changing forces on the landscape.
  • Continually refine our ability to target areas of the PPR for land protection, wetland restoration, and grassland restoration / intensive management that will realize the maximum benefit to waterfowl.
  • Use donated conservation easements, purchased grassland easements, and revolving land purchases as the principal mechanisms to protect land with the goal of 800,000 ha protected in North and South Dakota
  • Restore wetland complexes or large marshes using traditional engineering approaches, being careful to provide only the water management capabilities that will be utilized and are cost-effective.
  • Continue to use intensive management practices like predator fences and nesting islands when they are the only options available.
  • Implement agricultural programs such as fall-seeded crops that provide suitable nesting cover while at the same time benefiting the farmer and conservation of soils and water.
  • Work to promote agricultural policies and programs that contain conservation provisions beneficial to waterfowl. When appropriate, assist with implementation of programs such as small wetland restorations in CRP.
  • Continue to build effective conservation partnerships.
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