DU and partners launch Prairies Conservation Campaign

Joining forces to bring attention to grassland and wetland conversion
Story at a Glance Conservation coalition joining forces to create grassroots awareness about conservation programs and tools available to prevent the loss of grassland and wetlands.
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – A coalition of conservation organizations, including Ducks Unlimited, announced today the launch of a coordinated, partner-driven “Prairies Conservation Campaign” to bring public attention to the dramatic conversion of grasslands and wetlands to cropland in one of America’s last intact grassland ecosystems – the Prairie Pothole Region
“We are heartened by our partners coming together to speak out about grassland and wetland loss, which is happening at rates not seen since the dust bowl days, said Steve Adair, director of DU’s Great Plains Region. “Farmers and ranchers have shown great interest in conservation tools to improve their operations and maintain this vital habitat.”

Among other goals, the campaign will seek to create grassroots awareness in the region about landowner conservation programs and tools currently available to help prevent the loss of grassland. While this strategy will primarily focus on stakeholder cooperation in local communities, partner organizations invite the public to follow and participate in the conversation online using the #ConserveThePrairies hashtag.

“More than 50 percent of North American migratory waterfowl depend upon the mix of wetlands and grasslands found in the prairie pothole region,” said Noreen Walsh, Regional Director for the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a partner in the campaign. “This area is called America’s ‘duck factory’ because it is the most productive area for nesting waterfowl on the continent, perhaps the world. These prairies and all the wildlife that they support are currently stressed by many factors acting together to threaten our natural heritage. By joining together as stewards, we can shed light on this problem and find solutions.”
Campaign partners are working together to find conservation solutions, additional resources, and win-win solutions for landowners. In order to do this, one of the campaign’s primary goals is to increase opportunities for voluntary incentive-based tools to keep livestock producers profitable. This will ensure that the region has healthy fish and wildlife populations, healthy soil and water resources, and an assurance that ranch families will always be an integral and profitable component of the region’s economy. More information is available at: www.fws.gov/prairiesconservation.
Partner organizations include: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, World Wildlife Fund, Delta Waterfowl, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, Pheasants Forever, and North Dakota Natural Resources Trust.