By Chris Jennings
Early waterfowl biologists called the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States and Canada the "Duck Factory" because of its incredible productivity for breeding waterfowl. Dotted with millions of small "pothole" wetlands, this region remains this continent's most important waterfowl breeding ground. In especially wetland-rich areas, duck breeding densities can exceed 100 pairs per square mile. Following is a visual tour of the prairies and why it's so important to conserve this region's wetlands and grasslands for waterfowl and other wildlife.