Media summit highlights plight of the prairies

Stories focusing on the plight of the prairies and increased energy development in North Dakota have been showing up in national publications (The Washington Post) following the recent Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) 2013 Media Summit, hosted by Ducks Unlimited in Bismarck, N.D. 

Top outdoor and environmental journalists from across the country gathered to learn more about habitat loss in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) and how public policy and other issues affect hunting, angling, conservation and the outdoors-based economy. Presenters, including DU and TRCP, laid out several economic and policy drivers contributing to the rapid conversion of native prairie and wetlands to cropland.

The group also heard from a North Dakota State University economist and a South Dakota agronomy manager on the factors driving conversion, including major jumps in commodity and land prices. North and South Dakota ranchers talked about strategies they are using to make their cattle production operations more sustainable, profitable and wildlife friendly.

Participants got a bird’s-eye view of some of the landscape changes occurring across North Dakota via small aircraft, further highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing DU and its partners to conserve one of North America’s most treasured and threatened landscapes for waterfowl and other wildlife.  

Other summit presenters included staff from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Trout Unlimited, the Sage Grouse Initiative, the North Dakota Wildlife Society and the University of Montana.