Download printable PDF »
Delbert and Donna Eszlinger run a successful Angus beef cattle operation, located in McIntosh County, N.D. Delbert's father started the ranch in 1940 with 160 acres.
The Eszlingers' ranch is entirely grasslands and wetlands. They have nearly 1,760 acres enrolled in the Grassland Conservation Easement Program, a partner program between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited that protects grasslands and prairie pothole wetlands. The USFWS holds and monitors these easements in perpetuity.
The Eszlingers' ranch is in the Prairie Pothole Region
, where up to 70 percent of North America's ducks nest each spring. Protecting grasslands and wetlands serves both ranchers and wildlife. Cattle need grass and water for nutrition, while ducks and other grassland-dependent birds need the same for breeding, nesting and brood rearing. Waterfowl species that benefit from grassland conservation include mallard, gadwall, blue-winged teal and northern pintail.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Chris and John Frierson, Paul Dickson and Ducks Unlimited