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Youth Waterfowl Workshop

BISMARCK, N.D. – August 18, 2016 – Young hunting enthusiasts had a chance to learn more about the sport recently at Ducks Unlimited’ s annual Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop. DU partnered with North Dakota Game and Fish (NDGF) and the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club to teach kids the essentials of hunting waterfowl.

Get to know our Prairie Research Team

Research on the prairies is long, hard work, and it requires a special breed to take on the challenge. Ducks Unlimited has three researchers working in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). Our research team has, combined, more than 16 years of undergrad and graduate work focused solely on biology.

DU & UND Nest Cam: Blue-winged Teal Duckling Investigates

This curious blue-winged teal duckling investigates the nest camera that was put by their nest.

DU and TNC's Grazing Management Habitat Tour

Private landowners, conservation groups, and state and federal agencies gathered at Ducks Unlimited’s Coteau Ranch and The Nature Conservancy’s Davis Ranch in Sheridan County to discuss and learn more about grazing management tools. The management tools include controlled burning, rotational grazing techniques, spraying and mowing.

Nestcam project wraps up

The field portion of the Ducks Unlimited (DU) and University of North Dakota (UND) 2016 Nestcam project is done. New partners, UND interns and technicians helped make this year a success.

Bakken team advances in brood survey

In August, Ducks Unlimited technicians will begin the second round of brood surveys in the Bakken oil field. They have completed the first two weeks of the brood survey in this area of the Prairie Pothole Region. The technicians are now compiling the data they found in the first round. The survey will end on August 15.

Rusty Schultz finds alternatives when CRP contract expires

Farmers and ranchers who understand the benefits of grasslands to the North Dakota landscape are invaluable. Landowners like Rusty Schultz from Lamoure County, North Dakota, who participate in conservation programs, are an integral part of Ducks Unlimited’s effort to conserve grasslands and wildlife. Rusty recently enrolled in the Natural Resources Conservation Service Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) when his Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract expired.

Landowner Josh Haugen restores plowed prairie

Farming and ranching large tracts of land can be challenging, but Josh Haugen of Litchville, North Dakota, learned it from his father, Clay.

Conservation Programs for North Dakota Landowners

From 2007 to 2016, North Dakota lost 1.84 million acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Another 400,000 acres of CRP will expire in North Dakota by 2018. That’s like losing another 360,000 football fields worth of crucial nesting habitat for wildlife. In North Dakota, only (7 percent) of landowners who applied for the 49th general CRP sign-up were successful; in South Dakota it was less than (1 percent).

Ducks Unlimited to host youth waterfowl hunting workshop Aug. 12

BISMARCK, N.D. – July 12, 2016 – Children 16 and under are invited to join Ducks Unlimited for a free youth waterfowl hunting workshop Friday, Aug. 12, at 9 a.m. The workshop will be held at the DU office at 2525 River Road in Bismarck. Shooting training will follow the workshop for kids 9 and older and a free lunch will be provided by the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club.

DU Great Plains hosts Prairie Experience

Visitors from across the country came to Bismarck recently for Ducks Unlimited’s Prairie Experience. The event is two days of hands-on “prairie experiences” that allow participants a behind-the-scenes glimpse at wetland ecology, duck biology and the issues surrounding the ongoing loss of prairie wetlands and grasslands.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Returning from Recess

A hen returns from recess, which is one of two breaks she takes away from the nest each day. During this recess the hen goes to a newby wetland and feeds, which allows her to sit on the nest for extended periods of time.

Bakken team in the field for brood survey

The Bakken research team is transitioning from their annual pair survey to the brood survey. The brood survey started July 1 and will run to July 15. During this first brood survey they will be counting and identifying broods. In addition, they will also put the broods in age categories. The techs will survey around 40 basins a day. Over the length of this survey they will cover 64, four square mile plots.

Bakken team moving foward with brood surveys

July 1, 2016 - During the last two weeks of June, the Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Region research crew was busy entering the data they collected during the pair survey into an electronic database, where it will be stored for later analyses. This gave the crew members a much needed break from hiking through the prairies.

Century High students take field trip to Coteau Ranch

Bismarck Century summer biology students took a field trip to the Ducks Unlimited’s Coteau Ranch this past week. The ranch is located near Wing, N.D. and is in the heart of the Missouri Coteau, a part of the Prairie Pothole Region that provides some of the best nesting habitat in the world. With this habitat just an hour drive away, it provides students with a valuable look into the biology, ecology and hydrology of the land.

Bob Anderson works with DU and OHF to diversify his operation

Bob Anderson purchased an 85-acre tract in Barnes County, North Dakota, to conserve wildlife habitat, hunt and as an investment property.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Ducklings in Nest

In this videos blue-winged teal ducklings in the nest bowl.. The hen has left the nest and is signaling for the ducklings to follow her to water.

Understanding Waterfowl: A Matter of Productivity

Biologists have known for decades that native prairie with a high wetland density is the gold standard for producing ducks. Large expanses of unbroken grassland offer secure upland cover for ground-nesting hens, and numerous small, shallow wetlands provide the invertebrate food resources female ducks need to produce eggs and successfully raise their broods. While both grass and water are important to breeding waterfowl, wetlands often prove to be the most unpredictable resources on the landscape.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Leads Ducklings Away From Nest

After over 30 days of laying and caring for her eggs, this blue-winged teal hen is finally leading her brood off the nest. Together, they might travel several kilometers before reaching a wetland that the hen deems acceptable for rearing her young. While there is still have much to learn about habitat selection for brood-rearing, hens tend to select wetlands with abundant food to help their broods grow strong enough for the fall migration.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Deer Eats Egg

A white-tailed deer eats eggs from a mallard nest. While not typically considered a common nest predator, other camera studies have recorded depredation of songbird nestlings.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Prepares Nest for Recess

Nesting waterfowl are known to take several ‘recesses’ or breaks from incubating their eggs each day. During these recesses they replenish their own energy supply at a nearby wetland. This mallard hen is preparing to leave her nest for a mid-morning recess. She is covering her eggs up with grass to help disguise them from passing predators and aid them in thermoregulation during her absence.

Do you want more out of your land?

Are you a landowner who has issues with expiring CRP, farming marginal cropland, conserving habitat, or just wants more from your land? Ducks Unlimited’s conservation program biologists may have solutions for you. DU has biologists who specialize in conservation programs in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. These biologists work with landowners to provide technical assistance and guidance on federal, state and private conservation programs.

Landowners who have benefitted from the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund and Ducks Unlimited

Landowners who have benefited from the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund and Ducks Unlimited

OHF Landowner Profile: Pic family farm improved for the future

The Pic farm has been in the family for generations, dating back to the 1870s. Walsh County landowner Donavon Pic recently asked his daughter Carrie to take over as the operations manager due to his failing health.

DU uses OHF to create Enhanced Grazing Lands and Wildlife Habitat program

The Enhanced Grazing Lands and Wildlife Habitat program, funded through North Dakota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF), is helping North Dakota landowners maintain 11,000 acres of expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands and other grasslands. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ducks Unlimited partnered to enroll landowners in this program in 2015-2016 using a core set of NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) practices. The program offers enhanced grazing and habitat management incentives to transition lands at high-risk of conversion, to working lands for grazing and improved wildlife habitat.

DU and UND partner to bring you glimpse inside duck nests

Ducks Unlimited (DU) is giving people across the world an inside look at how blue-winged teal and mallards nest through a nestcam project. In its second year, the collaboration with the University of North Dakota (UND) is growing to cover more acres with more nest cameras.

DU to begin work on OHF-funded project at Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Moffit, N.D – With grant funding from the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF), Ducks Unlimited will soon begin restoring and improving habitat on the Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), near Moffit, North Dakota. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Long Lake is recognized for its diversity in wetland habitats and value to wildlife.

Wetlands and kids at Bismarck Water Festival

Third grade students from the local area splashed into spring at Bismarck State College for the annual Water Festival. During this week's festival students learned the importance of water and how they can conserve our natural resource.

DU coaches ND Envirothon teams

More than 115 students faced the cold and windy conditions for the 17th annual North Dakota Envirothon. Ducks Unlimited staff coached teams from across the state.

DU's Bakken research in the PPR

The Bakken Formation overlaps one-third of the United States portion of the Prairie Pothole Region. This overlapped area may provide breeding habitat for more than 25 percent, or 1 million. of the duck pairs using the Dakotas and eastern Montana.

Ducks Unlimited prairie science back in the field

The ducks are back and so is the research crew. Last week Ducks Unlimited’s Prairie Pothole research crew began training for a non-traditional duck season- a research season.

North Dakota Conservation Program Biologists

Ducks Unlimited Conservation Program Biologists work with landowners who want more out of their land. The farmers and ranchers may be concerned about soil salinity or an area of erosion on their properties. Other landowners want to attract more wildlife or want to make sure their land stays the same for the next generation. DU’s Conservation Program Biologists help farmers and ranchers reach their goals through conservation programs.

North Dakota prairies champion receives national recognition

PITTSBURGH, Pa, – March 18, 2016 – Few people have furthered the conservation of prairie wetlands and grasslands more than Tammy Fairbanks. Fairbanks, the North Dakota realty supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), was awarded the national Wetlands Conservation Achievement Award in the Federal Agency Employee category today during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh.

N.D.'s Larsons chosen for Wetland Conservation Award

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - March 18, 2016 - Craig and Shelley Larson were honored today for being champions of conservation. The Bismarck, N.D., couple received the 2016 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award in the Private Citizen category at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh.

Migration Alert: Snow Goose Numbers Build in North Dakota

The spring snow goose migration is gaining momentum in North Dakota, as light goose numbers continue to build throughout the state. The open waters at Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern North Dakota attracted a massive concentration of snow geese last weekend, says refuge biologist Christine Askerooth.

North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund Projects

Projects completed using OHF grant funds

North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund

North Dakota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) is a granting program to promote conservation in the state. Established in 2013 by the North Dakota legislature

DU can help landowners apply for new CRP sign-up

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has opened a general enrollment period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for the first time in two years in North Dakota. Ducks Unlimited has conservation program biologists in the state who can help landowners decide whether CRP works for their operation, as well as help them navigate the application process.

Warhurst retiring from Ducks Unlimited after 30 years

BISMARCK, N.D. – Dec. 16, 2016 – Senior Biologist Rick Warhurst began his career with Ducks Unlimited in 1985 as the Great Plains’ first regional biologist. Ducks Unlimited opened the Great Plains Regional Office the year before to develop a presence on the Northern Great Plains waterfowl breeding grounds. Warhurst will retire on Dec. 31.

Newly restored mitigation wetlands to benefit youth hunting

Ducks Unlimited’s first project area for a new mitigation program will be used primarily for youth hunting. DU will complete its first North Dakota In-Lieu Fee Mitigation project this spring on private land near Carrington. Restoring and protecting wetlands on the property will mitigate for development that inadvertently impacts wetlands.

Great response to student research partnership

To increase the number of conservationists and citizens who enjoy and support waterfowl and wetland conservation, Ducks Unlimited partnered with the University of North Dakota (UND) for a student research internship program. Undergraduate students Nick Conrad and John Palarski were sponsored by UND professor Dr. Susan Ellis-Felege and used video surveillance technology to examine nest attendance and defense in blue-winged teal at DU’s Coteau Ranch this summer.

Conservation partners host first ND Legislative Fun Shoot

North Dakota lawmakers and conservationists gathered this fall at Capital City Sporting Clays near Bismarck to enjoy an evening of fellowship and clay target shooting. Ducks Unlimited and several other conservation groups sponsored the inaugural North Dakota Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Legislative Fun Shoot. North Dakota’s bipartisan sportsmens caucus co-chairs organized the event, including Rep. Todd Porter (R-Mandan), Rep. Corey Mock (D-Grand Forks), Sen. Kelley Armstrong (R-Dickinson) and Sen. Phil Murphy (D-Portland).

DU/UND interns tie for first place for presentation at international convention

Ducks Unlimited and University of North Dakota (UND) interns brought home the gold in the student poster presentation competition at the annual conference of The Wildlife Society in Winnipeg. John Palarski and Nick Conrad tied for first place presenting the research they gathered this past summer on nesting ducks at DU’s Coteau Ranch near Bismarck.

DU’s carbon offset program awarded two USDA grants

BISMARCK, N.D. – Oct. 21, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited received two grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to further carbon market development in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

Migration Alert: North Dakota Hunters Enjoy Strong Start

North Dakota hunters have yet to see much of an influx of migrating waterfowl from Canada, but locally produced birds are providing ample opportunities for waterfowlers across the state.

Great Plains Region fundraising staff honored for achievements

Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Region fundraising staff exceeded their fundraising goals for the sixth year in a row. During the national fundraising staff meeting in Memphis in August, many GPR fundraising staff members were honored for their efforts and performance. Josh Williams (left), regional director for west Kansas and east Plains Colorado, was named Region 2 regional director of the year for his exceptional performance in FY15. Barry Allen (middle left), Montana regional director, and Steve Wilson, (middle right) Nebraska, were recognized for exceeding their stretch goals for four consecutive years. Greg Dinkel (right), Region 2 director of fundraising and volunteer relations, helped honor their achievements.

Illinois couple wants to help pollinators with North Dakota prairie donation

Ducks Unlimited (DU) will be enhancing a property in Wells County, N.D. to make it more attractive to pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly. Charlotte Adelman and her husband, Bernie Schwartz, both retired lawyers living in Wilmette, Ill., donated the 160-acre property to DU in late 2013. Located in the Prairie Pothole Region, the land was once in the Conservation Reserve Program and is exceptional habitat for breeding ducks. However, DU plans to diversify the property with various native plants so it will support more wildlife, including butterflies, bees and birds.

Migration Alert: Late Rains Set Stage for Early Season in Dakotas

With a projected record flight of birds and high-quality habitat conditions in many areas, waterfowlers in North and South Dakota are primed for a good season. These prairie states will kick off the 2015-2016 regular season in the Central Flyway, and officials believe the stage is set for a strong start.

Kids enjoyed a day learning about ducks and duck hunting

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Sept. 24, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever (PF) partnered to host a free youth waterfowl hunting clinic at the North Dakota Game and Fish Jamestown District Office. Volunteers helped kids learn the skills to enjoy waterfowl hunting safely.

DU completes OHF-funded project in Alkali Creek Wildlife Management Area

BOWMAN, N.D., Sept. 22, 2015 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) engineers recently completed repairs on a 58-acre wetland impoundment on the Alkali Creek Wildlife Management Area, near Bowman, North Dakota. The property is managed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGFD).

DU Partners with University of North Dakota on Nest Cam Project

Ducks Unlimited recently joined the University of North Dakota (UND) to provide biology students with experience and school credit through a summer research project on the Coteau Ranch, a 3,000-acre property owned and restored by DU. The interns spent the summer monitoring blue-winged teal nests using surveillance cameras to study nesting behavior. DU biologists and UND Assistant Professor Dr. Susan Ellis-Felege instructed and supported the students during the project.

DU’s research crew family

Cindy Anchor, a Pennsylvania native with a degree in fisheries and wildlife biology, just finished her second summer of research with Ducks Unlimited (DU) in the Bakken formation area of the Prairie Pothole Region. One of three crew leaders, her crew frequently and affectionately referred to her as “Mom," as something like a family formed.

Youth waterfowl hunting clinic Sept. 12 and mentored duck hunt Sept. 19

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Aug. 21, 2015 – Children 17 and under are invited to join Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever for a free youth waterfowl hunting clinic Saturday, Sept. 12, at 8:30 a.m., at the North Dakota Game and Fish Jamestown District Office, 3320 E. Lakeside Road, Jamestown.

DU researchers back in the Bakken for brood survey

The Ducks Unlimited research crew returned to the Bakken area of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) August 3 to start round two of the brood survey. They will revisit 64 study plots with nearly 4,000 wetlands. “In this round we’re targeting later-nesting species,” said DU research scientist Tanner Gue. “The two rounds of brood surveys allow us to assess production of all the most common nesting ducks in the PPR.”

USGS study says draining small PPR wetlands may increase flooding

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey found that draining smaller wetlands in North Dakota’s stretch of the Prairie Pothole Region has weakened the ability of wetlands to provide flood control and waterfowl habitat.

DU’s Rick Warhurst receives International Canvasback Award

At his final Central Flyway Council meeting last week, Ducks Unlimited (DU) senior regional biologist Rick Warhurst received the International Canvasback Award from the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee. The award is granted each year to an exceptional individual, corporation or organization that has made a minimum ten years’ commitment to implementing and continuing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Warhurst is retiring from DU in December.

Early-Season Destinations: Four Prairie Waterfowling Hotspots

The Prairie Pothole Region encompasses five U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and supports 50 to 70 percent of North America's waterfowl population during the breeding season. If you are looking for an early-season hunting destination, this is where the adventure begins. The following four cities serve as jumping-off points for top-notch freelance waterfowling trips. Find out when, where, and how to meet the migration this fall.

DU Research Update: Techs finish first stage of brood survey

Our crew of 15 started our two-week brood survey July 1 and just finished. This period differs from the pair survey in that we survey two different times during the day. The first is before sunrise until noon, and then we complete our disturbance evaluation. Needing to wait until 4 p.m. to start the second survey of the day, we find creative places to take naps and eat lunch. Tired technicians with wet and worn out feet are capable of taking naps just about anywhere.

Life as a nest-cam intern

John Palarski and Nick Conrad’s mornings began this summer at 7:30 a.m. with the loading of their ATVs, just outside their rented lodge in Goodrich, N.D. They packed video cameras, batteries, GPS devices, flags and stakes, a drag chain, egg candler and paper bag lunches. They strapped everything down, flicked yesterday’s ticks from their helmets and with the morning still cool, set off for the Ducks Unlimited Coteau Ranch, where they had been conducting research on duck nesting behaviors.

DU research team covering ground with brood survey

The Ducks Unlimited research crew is currently conducting brood surveys on 64 study plots across northwest North Dakota. Each plot is four square miles and encompasses several wetland basins. So far, researchers have visited more than 2,800 wetlands on 46 study plots. By the end of this week, they will have visited nearly 4,000 wetlands and finished all 64 plots.

High school biology students study conservation at DU’s Coteau Ranch

About 100 Bismarck, N.D. Century High School summer biology students traveled to Ducks Unlimited’s Coteau Ranch near Wing this week to learn more about how wildlife and people benefit from native prairie and wetlands. The property is in the heart of the Missouri Coteau, a part of the Prairie Pothole Region that provides some of the best nesting habitat in the world.

Ducks Unlimited hires summer research technicians to conduct brood survey in the Bakken

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has hired summer research technicians (pictured above) to conduct a brood survey in the Bakken area of the Prairie Pothole Region. Their findings will complement the breeding-pairs survey conducted earlier this summer and help determine the effects of oil development on waterfowl production.

Bismarck’s Zach Schneider shoots nearly perfect score at DU Fun Shoot

An almost perfect score brought Bismarck’s Zach Schneider the top spot at the annual Ducks Unlimited Fun Shoot at Capital City Sporting Clays Saturday. More than 50 people gathered to raise money for waterfowl habitat conservation, the highest attendance in the event’s history.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Deer Video-Bombs Nest Cam

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Bluewing Leaving Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Hen Returns to Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

DU & UND Duck Nest Cam: Raptor Attacks Duck on Nest

Clips are from University of North Dakota field cameras placed on duck nests at a Ducks Unlimited property in central North Dakota. DU is collaborating with UND on the nest cams project to study the habits of blue-winged teal.

Nesting Camera Partnership with University of North Dakota

This year, even more video cameras will be bringing people an inside look at duck nests on Ducks Unlimited’s Coteau Ranch, near Bismarck, N.D. In its second year, the collaboration between DU and the University of North Dakota (UND) will include two new UND interns.

Ducks Unlimited partners with UND for nest cam project

Ducks Unlimited has partnered with University of North Dakota to provide biology students experience and school credit through a summer research project at the Coteau Ranch, a 3,000-acre property owned and restored by Ducks Unlimited. The interns monitor blue-winged teal nests via surveillance cameras to study nesting behavior.

Ducks Unlimited studies waterfowl production in PPR area of Bakken oil fields

BISMARCK, N.D., June 4, 2015 - Ducks Unlimited biologists are studying the impact of oil and gas developments on duck production in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) area of the Bakken oil fields. By June 12, biologists will have surveyed duck pairs in 3,000 wetlands on 62 study plots.

Prairie states ag producers to have more conservation options

BISMARCK, N.D. – June 1, 2015 - Prairie states farmers and ranchers will soon have a new opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). During a speech at Ducks Unlimited’s national convention Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that an additional 800,000 acres of CRP will be accepted for general enrollment, starting in December. Also available are additional continuous CRP acres, including State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) and conservation practices targeted at key waterfowl breeding habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Finally Some Moisture

We have turned the corner in the eastern Dakotas. After six consecutive days of sitting in the rain, things have improved substantially—on the ground and in the air. We have now flown six consecutive days and things are looking a lot better. We thought we would get to fly on the 15th, and that turned out to be a false start.

DU biologists volunteer for North Dakota Envirothon competition

Twenty-two teams of high school students braved wind, cold and rain at this year’s Envirothon held recently in Crystal Springs, North Dakota. Envirothon is an annual competition where teams of five students are tested on their knowledge of natural resources and the environment. The theme for this year’s competition was urban and community forestry.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Stratum 43 Complete and Conditions Improved Somewhat

Greetings from the Treasure State and the Montana/Dakotas aerial crew. We’ve completed North Dakota (Stratum 43) and have made our way to our current base in Lewistown, Montana—located in the geographic center of the state.

Perspective from the Field: Waterfowl Research in the Duck Factory

Thick early morning fog covers the gravel road as we head towards our study plot for the day in Northwest North Dakota. This morning resembles the many mornings I have shared with friends prior to a day of duck hunting, but it is not exactly the same. I am here primarily to bolster my resume as a crew leader on a waterfowl research project for Ducks Unlimited, Inc. But it is so much more than that. I am an important part of a dedicated team of wetland conservationists.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Yep, It's Dry Out Here!

I don't want to add more gloom and doom to what Terry Liddick, the biologist pilot for our survey area, wrote in his report, but I can only heartily agree that it is DRY!!!!!!! Plus, the few wetlands that do have water are often empty of ducks.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Traveling Light

Tony and I have finished all the air-ground segments in South Dakota, but tonight find ourselves back at our starting point, the capital city of Pierre, SD (pronounce it “Peer” or they’ll know you’re not from around here).

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Ground Crew Temporarily Grounded

We started our first day of ground surveys today, and they went very smoothly—for about two hours. I'm out here with Tony Roberts, a biologist who started with the Division of Migratory Bird Management several months ago.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Survey Begins in Eastern Dakotas

The Eastern Dakota’s survey crew is assembled and ready to go. The survey got underway Sunday, 3 May when the aircrew and part of the ground crew arrived in Mitchell, SD. The following day, the rest of the ground crew arrived and began reviewing and training. The aircrew is again this year—for the fifth consecutive year—comprised of pilot/biologist Terry Liddick and observer Dave Fronczak. The ground crew will once again be led by Kammie Kruse.

Ducks Unlimited participates in Bismarck Earth Day Festival

Ducks Unlimited helped to sponsor Bismarck's Earth Day Festival on Thursday, April 23 DU helped kids walk through a duck wing maze to teach waterfowl identification.

Bismarck Ducks Unlimited chapter earns place in President’s Elite

BISMARCK, N.D. April 10, 2015 – The President’s Elite are among Ducks Unlimited’s most prestigious volunteer chapters throughout the nation. Every year, the list is reserved for the chapters that raise $100,000 or more for DU’s habitat conservation work. In 2014, the Bismarck chapter made the list as one of the organization’s best fundraising chapters.

Ducks Unlimited continues duck research in the Bakken

Ducks Unlimited, in collaboration with partners, will be conducting a study this summer on whether oil and gas activity in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North Dakota is affecting waterfowl. Nearly one-third of the PPR overlaps with a geological shale formation known as the Bakken, which is currently experiencing rapid rates of oil and gas development. Despite the importance of this area to breeding waterfowl and the rapid infrastructure development, very little research is currently investigating how birds’ productivity rates are responding.

Migration Alert: Spring Thaw Opens the Door for Snow Geese in the Dakotas

Light goose numbers are building in North and South Dakota as a week of warm temperatures across the Northern Plains has pushed the snow line into southern Canada. The opportunities to decoy geese are expanding rapidly, and hunters are optimistic that the best days are yet to come.

Jason Roudebush is a new Colorado-based water resource specialist for Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited has hired a new water resource specialist for its Great Plains Ecosystems Services team. Jason Roudebush will be stationed out of DU’s Fort Collins office and will work on water projects throughout the Great Plains Region.

Great Plains Region construction manager migrates north to help in Boreal Forest

Ducks migrate south from the Canadian Boreal Forest in the fall, as marshes freeze solid. However, for the last couple of years l’homme de canard du Nord (translation: Duck Man of the North) has migrated north from North Dakota in the winter months to assist Ducks Unlimited Canada’s engineering staff with wetland habitat infrastructure projects in the cold, frozen northwoods.

Ducks Unlimited participating in ND Outdoors Day

Outdoors-related groups from across the state will converge on the ND State Capitol on the morning of Friday, Feb. 20 for the first Outdoors Day at the legislature. Hikers, bikers, birders and those providing outdoor spaces for activities will join hunters and other sportsmen and women. Organizations and agencies attending will include those supporting parks, trails, and habitat for mule deer, turkeys, elk and waterfowl.

DU completes construction to help Bismarck-area shooting enthusiasts

BISMARCK, N.D. - Dec. 9, 2014 - Ducks Unlimited (DU) has completed construction on an improved shooting range at MacLean Bottoms Wildlife Management Area (WMA) south of Bismarck. In partnership with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF), DU engineers surveyed, designed and managed construction of the shooting range in accordance with National Rifle Association guidelines.

Migration Alert: Northern Plains Still Holding Large Numbers of Waterfowl

The good news coming out of the northern reaches of the Central Flyway this week is that there are still massive numbers of ducks and geese waiting to migrate south. Although there isn't significant snowfall in the current forecast, the next strong front may recharge hunting opportunities to the south.

Chevrolet invests in Ducks Unlimited carbon offsets to protect grasslands

Ducks Unlimited and its partners in a unique project aimed at preserving grasslands and reducing carbon releases are celebrating Chevrolet’s decision to purchase the first-ever verified carbon offsets from the avoided conversion of at-risk grasslands to cultivation. The innovative project will secure nearly 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Migration Alert: Front Triggers Peak Migration through the Dakotas

Hunters in North and South Dakota were expecting the worst when a massive cold front slammed the region with snow and bitter cold earlier this week, but instead of bringing the waterfowl season to a grinding halt, the winter weather brought peak numbers of ducks and geese migrating out of Canada.

Message from Steve Adair, DU Great Plains Region director, on Measure 5

North Dakota has been changed by elevating the conservation dialogue

Now available as a free download: a "Winter Wheat Variety Selection Tool" from Ducks Unlimited

BISMARCK, ND – September 2, 2014 - The variety or hybrid selection decision is one of the most important in successfully producing any crop. Today’s top producers search for information to make science-based and data-driven decisions. Agricultural universities, private seed companies, local crop and ag improvement associations, and others are working to produce the kind of data that can be used to drive that process.

Youth waterfowl hunting trailer available free

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Ducks Unlimited sponsor a trailer full of waterfowl hunting gear available to families with young hunters. If you are interested in taking a kid duck hunting but don’t have the gear, this is a great opportunity to use quality gear from Avery Outdoors. The North Dakota Game and Fish purchased the trailer with funds from the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters special grant program, and Avery Outdoors donated the equipment.

DU Great Plains Region celebrating 30th anniversary

BISMARCK, N.D. – July 28, 2014 – Ducks Unlimited’s Great Plains Region is celebrating its 30th anniversary at an open house on Thursday, Aug. 7, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Brats, hot dogs and beverages will be served at the regional office at 2525 River Road, Bismarck. The event is open to the public.

Ducks Unlimited to host youth waterfowl hunting clinic Aug. 15 and 16

BISMARCK, N.D. – July 22, 2014 – Children 16 and under are invited to join Ducks Unlimited for a free youth waterfowl hunting clinic on Friday, Aug. 15, at 8:30 a.m. This is the seventh year for the event, and children who have been waterfowl hunting are encouraged to bring a friend who has not.

New Farm Bill implementation ongoing

The 2014 Farm Bill passed in February, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is beginning to roll out new conservation programs and initiatives. The bill provides $28 billion over the next five years for conservation on private lands while streamlining several old programs and creating new ones like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

2014 Prairie Experience

The Prairie Experience is a unique combination of classroom and field experiences for Ducks Unlimited Major Sponsors from around the country see, touch and feel the prairies. DU recently hosted the event in some of the most exceptional duck-breeding areas on the continent near Bismarck, N.D.

Great Plains Region

The Great Plains Region, headquartered in Bismarck, N.D., was established in 1984 to protect and restore wetlands and grasslands in the United States Great Plains. Today, the GPR carries out conservation programs in seven states that include some of the most important nesting and migration habitat on the continent.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew All Done

We finished up another ground survey in the Eastern Dakotas. Our overall duck numbers are slightly down from last year with one interesting note that our scaup numbers were higher than they have been in a few years.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Overall Conditions Improved from Last Year

We have finished our survey this year and headed back home to our families and offices. Overall, the better conditions have continued throughout the survey area compared with last year.

Breeding Grounds Survey: More Water as We Move North

We are making good progress in the Eastern Dakotas Survey Area and we have flown 3 more days since the last blog. North Dakota has significantly more water and ducks than South Dakota and that is apparent already.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Western South and North Dakota Complete

We have finished our work in the Dakotas (Strata 43 and 44) and conditions look good there overall. Most reservoirs, dug outs, and natural wetlands that were dry or low last year are full with sheet water present in some areas.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Road Warriors

We have now finished all the air-ground segments in North Dakota, and did our first day of surveying in Montana today. The ground crew's job is to count a sample of the segments that the air crew surveys, and the ratio of the number of ducks (by species) that we see to the number that the air crew sees is used as a correction factor in calculating population estimates.

Breeding Grounds Survey: 2014 Survey Begins!

This morning we kicked off the 2014 Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. We took off out of Pierre, South Dakota and flew almost directly west for our first transect line.

Souris Valley chapter recognized nationally

MINOT, N.D. – April 3, 2014 – The Top 100 is one of the most highly sought-after titles of recognition Ducks Unlimited offers to its local chapters. Each year, the list is comprised of the top 100 fundraising chapters in the United States that raise up to $100,000 through fundraising activities in their communities. Through the efforts of these volunteer committees DU is able to pursue its mission of conserving, enhancing and restoring North America’s wetlands. In 2013 the Souris Valley chapter made the Top 100 list as one of the organization’s best fundraising chapters.

Dickinson chapter recognized nationally

Dickinson, N.D. – April 3, 2014 – The Top 100 is one of the most highly sought-after titles of recognition Ducks Unlimited offers to its local chapters. Each year, the list is comprised of the top 100 fundraising chapters in the United States that raise up to $100,000 through fundraising activities in their communities. Through the efforts of these volunteer committees DU is able to pursue its mission of conserving, enhancing and restoring North America’s wetlands. In 2013 the Dickinson chapter made the Top 100 list as one of the organization’s best fundraising chapters.

Bismarck chapter recognized nationally

BISMARCK, N.D. – April 3, 2014 – The President’s Elite are among Ducks Unlimited’s most prestigious volunteer chapters throughout the nation. Every year, the list is reserved for the chapters that raise $100,000 or more for DU’s habitat conservation work. In 2013, the Bismarck chapter made the list as one of the organization’s best fundraising chapters.

DU joins forces with other conservation groups for prairie conservation

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.

North Dakota ballot initiative moving ahead

Momentum is building for the North Dakota Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment. That’s evident with the petition drive running ahead of schedule and the 40 North Dakota groups and businesses that have formally endorsed the measure so far. Ducks Unlimited has been a leader on the coordinating group.

Shelley & Craig Larson: A Lifelong, Science-driven Passion for the Prairies

Gold Benefactor Sponsors Shelley and Craig Larson of Bismarck, North Dakota, support DU's Preserve Our Prairies Initiative. This initiative is dedicated to conserving the wetlands and grasslands of the Prairie Pothole Region, North America's most critical breeding grounds for waterfowl. The Larsons' story appeared in the 2013 Ducks Unlimited Annual Report.

Carmen Miller is new Great Plains Region public policy director

BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 26, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited has chosen Carmen Miller as its new director of public policy for the Great Plains Region. In her new role, Miller will be working on federal and state policies that affect DU’s conservation work in the Great Plains. DU’s Great Plains Region is headquartered in Bismarck, and includes the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

Dr. Johann Walker to head DU prairies program

BISMARCK, N.D. – Nov. 20, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited has named Dr. Johann Walker its director of conservation programs for North and South Dakota and Montana. Walker is recognized as one of the premier waterfowl population ecologists in the country. For the past three years, he has led the science and planning efforts for DU’s Great Plains Region by designing, collecting and analyzing the latest scientific research on waterfowl breeding ecology.

Migration Alert: North and South Dakota Migration Near Peak

For hunters in North Dakota and South Dakota, this steady migration of waterfowl from the northern breeding grounds has helped replace those locally-produced birds which filtered into Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and other points south earlier this fall.

Partnership Celebrates Innovative Prairie Conservation Project

BISMARCK, N.D. – Oct. 30, 2013 - The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), along with project partners Ducks Unlimited (DU), The Climate Trust (TCT) and The Nature Conservancy, today announced positive results from their joint collaboration — an innovative Avoided Grassland Conversion carbon project. The project is one of nine groundbreaking climate change initiatives selected and funded by the NRCS’s 2011 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, and is focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation for one of the least protected and most imperiled ecosystems in the world.

Migration Alert: DU TV Reports Steady Migration in North Dakota

The DU TV crew in North Dakota reports flights of new birds coming out of Canada. This is good news for Central and Mississippi Flyway hunters.

North Dakota amendment to dedicate statewide funding for conservation

A diverse coalition of conservation and outdoors leaders, including Ducks Unlimited, has filed an initiated constitutional measure petition with the North Dakota secretary of state that would establish permanent funding for water and land conservation and parks development in the state.

Migration Alert: The Stage is Set for North Dakota's Duck Season

For much of the past three weeks, Joe Fladeland has been bumping around North Dakota's back-roads chasing early season Canada geese, but the number of ducks gathered on the state's prairie potholes has the Avery pro-staffer excited about the opening of the general waterfowl season later this month.

Ducks Unlimited honors North Dakota staff member, volunteer leader

BISMARCK, N.D. – Aug. 22, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited recently awarded Senior Regional Director Joe Breidenbach a 2012-13 Regional Director of the Year award for his outstanding efforts as a staff member in Region 2, an area that encompasses the American prairies and great plains.

Ducks Unlimited to host youth waterfowl hunting clinic Aug. 16 and 17

BISMARCK, N.D. – Aug. 5, 2013 – Children 16 and under are invited to join Ducks Unlimited for a free youth waterfowl hunting clinic on Friday, Aug. 16, at 8:30 a.m. This is the sixth year for the event, and children who have been waterfowl hunting are encouraged to bring a friend who has not.

North Dakota Ducks Unlimited has new regional director

BISMARCK, N.D. July 30, 2013 - Ducks Unlimited has a new regional director for North Dakota. Forrest Gross will begin managing all grass roots fundraising efforts in the state on Aug.1, working with a team of volunteer leaders to host more than 50 DU events across North Dakota.

A Pothole Proposal

Executing a unique marriage proposal requires a significant amount of creativity and strategy. Tyler Carroll, Ducks Unlimited member in Minot, North Dakota, masterminded a plan to propose during an afternoon duck hunt that hinged on cooperative waterfowl, successful shooting, a kayak, and subzero temperatures.

Scheels All Sports growing conservation in five states

BISMARCK, N.D. – June 12, 2013 – Scheels All Sports is investing in conservation in five of the states where its stores are located. The company has pledged a five-year major gift to Ducks Unlimited to conserve habitat in North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa.

Preserve Our Prairies Initiative

Conserving North America's highest-priority waterfowl nesting habitat—and the glory of bountiful fall flights—in the face of mounting threats.

Habitat Update: Northern Plains Receives More Snow

A late spring storm in North Dakota dropped one to two feet of snow across the state, creating chaos for citizens of the Northern Plains. For most waterfowl, however, the snow is just a temporary setback.

ND Calendar Raffle Winners


Continental Generosity - Daryl and Mary Pennington

Waterfowl are a continental resource that rely on habitat from their northern breeding grounds to their southern winter homes and all points in between. It takes a visionary to see beyond his backyard and support habitat conservation on a continental scale. Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation trustees Daryl and Mary Pennington of Ethel, Louisiana, are prime examples of such broadly committed sponsors, their generosity shining even more brightly given that Daryl and Mary began duck hunting less than 15 years ago.

North Dakota: Early Season Outlook

Following several weeks of warm, dry weather, the outlook remains generally positive for waterfowl hunting in North Dakota.

DU will continue to advocate for land conservation after North Dakota ballot initiative

The Clean Water, Lands & Outdoor Heritage Amendment will not be on the November 6, 2012 ballot in North Dakota. The initiated measure would have dedicated a small portion of the state’s oil and gas taxes for conservation.

Ducks Unlimited hosts youth waterfowl hunting clinic Sept. 7 and 8

BISMARCK, N.D. – Aug. 13, 2012 – Children 16 and under are invited to join Ducks Unlimited for a free youth waterfowl hunting clinic on Friday, Sept. 7, at 3:30 p.m. This is the fourth year for the annual event, and children who have duck hunted before are encouraged to bring a friend who has not.

DU applauds Senate passing 2012 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON - June 21, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited announced its appreciation today following the U.S. Senate's 64-35 passage of the 2012 Farm Bill. The $969.9 billion bipartisan bill maintained a conservation title that will benefit wildlife and people. Critical conservation initiatives include the Conservation Reserve Program, a conservation easement program with a strong wetland component, a regional partnership program aimed at improving water quality and a Sodsaver provision. The Senate also moved to link eligibility for federally subsidized crop insurance to compliance with conservation practices.

DU Trailer Helps Beginning Hunters in North Dakota

Several North Dakota youth were able to go on their first waterfowl hunt this past fall, thanks to a new trailer stocked with decoys and blinds.

Winter Wheat Acreage Up 75 Percent in North Dakota

Waterfowl will find more winter wheat on the landscape this spring when they return to North Dakota's prairie pothole country.

North Dakota 2012 Spring Breeding Duck Survey

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey showed an index of 4.8 million birds, up 16 percent from last year and 112 percent above the long-term average (1948-2011).

With support, waterfowl benefits may survive in federal highway bill

Efforts by Ducks Unlimited and allies are underway to support provisions added to the federal highway bill that would provide significant benefits for waterfowl. One provision of the bill - commonly known as the RESTORE Act - calls for 80 percent of the fines paid by those responsible for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to be committed to restoring the area most affected - the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Ducks Unlimited joins other conservation, sportsmen's groups in support of Sodsaver

In a letter submitted this week, hunting and fishing and conservation groups urged House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (OK) and ranking member Collin Peterson (MN) to adopt the Farm Bill's Sodsaver provision to promote "responsible stewardship of agricultural land and direct program benefits to acreage that is most suited for crop production."

DU applauds 2012 Farm Bill committee passage

WASHINGTON - April 26, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited announced its support and appreciation of the Senate Agricultural Committee today as it passed the 2012 Farm Bill out of committee.

Dickinson Chapter recognized nationally

DICKINSON, N.D. – March 27, 2012 – The President's Elite are among Ducks Unlimited's most prestigious volunteer chapters throughout the nation. This past fall, the Dickinson made the list as one of the organization's best fundraising chapters.

Bismarck Chapter recognized nationally

BISMARCK, N.D. - March 27, 2012 - The President's Elite are among Ducks Unlimited's most prestigious volunteer chapters throughout the nation. This past fall, the Bismarck Chapter made the list as one of the organization's best fundraising chapters.

Whiting Petroleum Gives Back to North Dakota Prairies

Whiting Petroleum Corporation recently contributed $100,000 to Ducks Unlimited to restore wetlands on the western edge of North Dakota's Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

Wetlands conservation leader marks World Water Day

BISMARCK, N.D. – March 22, 2012 – As the world’s leader in wetlands and waterfowl conservation, Ducks Unlimited is drawing attention to this month’s milestone 9th Annual World Water Day. World Water Day is held annually on March 22 to focus attention on the importance of fresh water and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year’s theme is Water and Food Security.

Twelve DU conservation projects receive NAWCA grant approval from MBCC, six more from NAWCC

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission (MBCC) met last week and approved more than $24.5 million in federal grants under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for partnership-based conservation projects that will protect, restore and enhance more than 146,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitats across the United States and Mexico.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited focus funding to protect vital waterfowl habitat in Prairie Pothole Region

WASHINGTON - March 2, 2012 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited announced today they will work with the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission to focus resources on wildlife habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of the northern plains, breeding grounds for a majority of the continent's ducks.

Coalition aims to direct oil, gas revenue toward conserving North Dakota's natural resources

DU has joined forces with other conservation organizations, business leaders and concerned citizens to seek dedicated funding for water, land and wildlife conservation in North Dakota.

North Dakota: Delbert and Donna Eszlinger

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.

Dakota Grassland Conservation Area now a national conservation priority

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has released his final 50-State America's Great Outdoors Report, which highlights the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area as one of the country's 100 most promising outdoor projects.

Migration Alert: Still Waiting for the Big Push in North Dakota

Oct. 27, 2011: Waterfowl numbers in the Dakotas appear to be in a holding pattern right now and a powerful cold front is sorely needed to help move new ducks and geese into the region.

DU Chairman Joins U.S. Secretary of the Interior and USFWS Director to Commemorate New National Wildlife Refuges

DU Chairman of the Board John Pope joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and USFWS Director Dan Ashe last week to install four new planks on the boardwalk at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Six NAWCA projects approved in Great Plains Region

The Migratory Bird Conservation Council has approved six conservation projects that will positively impact waterfowl habitat in North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. If funded and completed, these projects will conserve more than 47,000 acres. Dollars for these projects will come from North American Wetland Conservation Act grants and matching funds provided by non-federal partners.

Whiting Petroleum fuels conservation work in North Dakota

Whiting Petroleum Corporation recently contributed $100,000 to Ducks Unlimited for specific conservation action on the western edge of North Dakota's Prairie Pothole Region.

Migration Alert: Plenty of water and ducks for North Dakota Opener

Sept. 21, 2011: The outlook for North Dakota's duck season is quite good, but extensive scouting will be imperative for success.

Sportsmen must speak up to make the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area a reality

DU strongly supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to formally establish the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area. However, if this jewel for America's wildlife is to be protected, sportsmen will need to tell Congress of its significance.

Sportsmen must speak up to make the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area a reality

DU is pleased with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recent decision to formally establish the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area. However, if this jewel for America's wildlife is to be protected, sportsmen will need to tell Congress of its significance.

Time to break the "green bridge" for a healthy winter wheat crop

Producers who plan to plant a winter wheat crop this fall need to break the "green bridge" now to stave off the Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus disease.

Devils Lake Ducks

This sprawling North Dakota lake offers endless public hunting opportunities for freelance waterfowlers

DU and NRCS partnership continues to expand with latest grant venture

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White recently announced that Ducks Unlimited received funding through the USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants for a large scale project in the Prairie Potholes Region of North Dakota and South Dakota that will initially help conserve 5,000 acres of ranchland in both states.

DU Receives Carbon Grant

Ducks Unlimited is working with cattle producers to protect grassland-nesting habitat, thanks to a grant that will increase national recognition for the carbon storage benefit of native prairie grasslands

Winter Wheat Acres Grow in Dakotas and Montana

South Dakota farmers responded to some unique opportunities this past fall to increase winter wheat acres in the state.

Stewards of the Prairie

Cattle ranchers manage much of this continent's most important waterfowl breeding habitat

Winter Wheat Option for Grain Growers Facing Wheat Midge Outbreaks this Season

North Dakota State University crop protection specialist Dan Waldstein warns of the potential wheat midge infestation for many counties in North Dakota during the 2011 growing season. For producers facing wheat midge problems this year, planting winter wheat for the 2012 season is an option worth considering.

Winter Wheat Duck Nesting Research Gears Up for Second Year

Researchers at Ducks Unlimited and Montana State University are making preparations for the second year of data collection of a three-year study evaluating duck nesting success in winter wheat fields compared to other habitats.

Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action Website Launches

Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action announces the launch of the initiative's new website, www.wintercereals.us. Here producers can find out why winter wheat is good for their land and good for their operations, as well as get answers to many of their questions about growing the crop.

ND DU On The Web!


Winter cereal acres up in Dakotas and Montana

BISMARCK, ND – South Dakota farmers responded to some unique opportunities this past fall to increase their winter wheat acres. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service this morning reported acreage in South Dakota was up by 22 percent.

DU salutes USDA's support, commitment to conservation on 25th anniversary of CRP

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Dec. 23, 2010 - This year marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program. The Food Security Act of 1985 established the CRP, arguably the greatest landscape-level conservation program ever.

ND Youth Can Now Checkout Hunting Gear

You could call it “duck hunt in a can.” Ducks Unlimited, North Dakota Game and Fish and Avery Outdoors are partnering to make it easier for young people to go on their first hunt. North Dakota families with young hunters can now checkout a trailer in Bismarck full of decoys and blinds to hunt waterfowl.

Kids enjoy youth waterfowl hunting clinic

Some 35 children and their parents gathered at DU's Great Plains Regional Office in Bismarck to learn the many aspects of waterfowl hunting, including calling, handling retrievers and working with a wide range of gear.

Ducks Unlimited: CRP sign-up comes at critical time for ducks

BISMARCK, N.D. - July 28, 2010 - Ducks Unlimited says the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up comes at a critical time for duck populations, with nesting grounds continuing to disappear. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced yesterday that the agency will allow new enrollments in CRP in 2010, the first time since 2006.

Land Grant Universities Added to Winter Cereals Sustainability in Action Initiative

FARGO, July 26, 2010 - North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of Minnesota (U of M) join with Ducks Unlimited (DU) and Bayer CropScience to enhance the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action (WCSIA) research and education initiative. The land grant universities, along with South Dakota State University, will be working toward new winter wheat varieties with improved characteristics such as winter hardiness, high yield, disease resistance and good milling qualities.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic in Bismarck

Ducks Unlimited is hosting a free Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic in Bismarck August 6 and 7. Young people ages 16 and under are invited to attend the clinic, which will include lessons on duck biology and ID, decoy spreads, hunting gear, duck calling and handling retrievers. Attendees over 9, and are part of the first 20 students registered, will have a chance to attend a session at the Capital City Sporting Clays Range.

Ducks Unlimited says Open Fields will maintain hunting traditions

BISMARCK, N.D. - July 9, 2010 - Ducks Unlimited's support of a new federal program is starting to pay off with more opportunities for hunters, which will help maintain the nation's hunting traditions. Under a recently launched U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative called Open Fields, landowners can receive a financial incentive in exchange for opening lands to the public for outdoor recreation.

Winter Wheat Research Program Moves Forward For Bayer CropScience and Ducks Unlimited

BROOKINGS, S.D. (June 23, 2010) - “Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action,” a winter wheat research and education initiative, facilitated by Bayer CropScience and Ducks Unlimited, announced the inclusion of South Dakota State University (SDSU) as the program’s first research partner. The announcement was made at the SDSU Innovation Campus today.

Researchers working to find duck nests in winter wheat fields

Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action nesting research underway GARRISON, ND, June 21, 2010 – Residents near Garrison and Minot, N.D. may wonder what people on All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are doing driving around in winter wheat fields. Crews of research technicians, employed by Ducks Unlimited (DU), this summer are searching the fields for duck nests. They will monitor the nests to determine whether the hens successfully hatch their eggs.

North Dakotans Want to Conserve State’s Best Lands and Waters

Poll Shows Voters Want State to Dedicate Money, Expand Property Rights to Advance Conservation BISMARCK, N.D. — June 17, 2010 — A large majority of North Dakotans support conserving the state’s best water, natural areas and wildlife habitat through dedicated state funding and by providing landowners the tools they need to conserve their property, according to a poll released today by Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Dakota and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust.

Researchers working near Garrison and Minot to find duck nests in winter wheat

Garrison, ND, June 10, 2010 – This summer, crews of research technicians employed by Ducks Unlimited (DU) are using All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to search winter wheat fields around Garrison and Minot for duck nests. The crews will monitor the nests throughout the summer to determine whether the hens successfully hatch their eggs.

DU announces 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - March 26, 2010 - Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards at the 75th-annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Milwaukee, Wis., on Friday, March 26.

North Dakota conservationist receives Ducks Unlimited 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award

Outstanding contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation recognized MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 26, 2010 – Gary Krapu, a wildlife research biologist with the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, N.D., is the recipient of a 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award from Ducks Unlimited.

What's good for the landowner can also be good for the ducks

BISMARCK, N.D. - Jan. 21, 2010 - It's all about win-win solutions, say North Dakota's two new Ducks Unlimited conservation program biologists. Krista Reiser and Heather Shaw are working with landowners in the state's Missouri Coteau area to find conservation solutions that protect and/or restore natural resources while improving a landowner's operation.

DU brings better water management to North Dakota's largest refuge

UPHAM, N.D., Nov. 23, 2009 – Running water is the Earth's most effective erosion agent. Building a water control structure to stand up to it can be tricky. Ducks Unlimited just completed a new structure at the J.Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in north-central North Dakota to replace dams that have eroded over time. The box culverts will improve water level management on the 350-acre Rubble Masonry Wetland Unit near Upham.

CRP losses in Prairie Pothole Region add up

DU says losses will affect duck numbers in the future BISMARCK, N.D. - Nov. 10, 2009 - Ducks Unlimited cautions that the Duck Factory is on the verge of losing even more of its capacity. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Conservation Reserve Program contracts on more than 500,000 acres expired and were not renewed in the Prairie Pothole Region states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana in 2009.

Bismarck eighth graders help DU band ducks

Bismarck eighth graders help DU band ducks

Future waterfowlers quack it up

Bismarck, N.D. residents may have thought duck season was off to an early start this weekend with some 40 wanna-be duck-callers practicing their skills at a Ducks Unlimited Youth Waterfowl Hunting clinic. Along with practicing their quacks, the school-age participants got to learn about lining up decoys, working with retrievers and some duck biology.

ND growers, NDSU, Bayer CropScience and DU share vision with Congress

WASHINGTON – June 16, 2009 – A delegation representing North Dakota growers and University scientists, together with representatives from Bayer CropScience and Ducks Unlimited, took to Capitol Hill to advocate for more investment and support for winter cereals as part of a shared vision of sustaining agriculture and the environment through the Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action initiative.

DU says law violates landowner rights and hinders business

BISMARCK, N.D., June 10, 2009 – For the third consecutive time Governor John Hoeven has rejected an application from Ducks Unlimited to purchase land in North Dakota. DU says the law that dictates this approval process overrides private property rights of landowners and hinders DU’s ability to do business in North Dakota.

DU hires new winter cereals agronomist

BISMARCK, ND, May 27, 2009 - The Winter Cereals – Sustainability in Action initiative is growing with the addition of a new Ducks Unlimited agronomist. Steve Dvorak will help growers in 16 south-central and south-east North Dakota counties expand their winter cereal acres.

DU says ND advisory committee decision short-sighted

BISMARCK, N.D., May 14, 2009 - Ducks Unlimited says today’s decision by a North Dakota committee to recommend the governor deny DU’s request to purchase a piece of McLean County property is short-sighted. The North Dakota Natural Areas Acquisition Advisory Committee voted four to two to turn down DU’s application to buy 321 acres of unique Missouri Coteau wetland and grassland. Two members of the committee were absent.

Wetlands are part of the flood protection puzzle

Ducks Unlimited proposes protecting wetlands to help reduce future flooding Bismarck, N.D., May 6, 2009 – As communities in North Dakota assess the collective impacts of this spring’s flooding, residents are searching for ways to prevent another catastrophic flood. City and state officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are now strategizing on permanent flood protection measures that will protect residents and businesses in the Fargo/Moorhead area.

DU supports grazing on CRP in ND flood-impacted areas

BISMARCK, ND – May 4, 2009 – Ducks Unlimited supports the recent announcement by the U. S. Department of Agriculture to extend grazing opportunities on Conservation Reserve Program grasslands in areas of North Dakota that have been impacted by flooding this spring. The announcement extends the April 30 deadline that was set up to help ranchers who are dealing with flooding in pastures normally used for calving and grazing.

NDSU among DU's "Sweet 16" college chapters

As the collegiate world heads into “March Madness,” Ducks Unlimited announces its Sweet 16 college chapters throughout the U.S. These 16 college chapters were the top fundraisers among more than 70 college chapters.

10th field season for nest success research

The Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Regional Office will begin its tenth consecutive field season of nest searching research this spring. This research is a large-scale, long-term project and researchers will use the data collected to investigate hypotheses about the relationships between nest survival and land-use and environmental conditions across the Prairie Pothole Region. Results of this research will help habitat managers and conservation planners understand better the relationships between duck production and landscape-scale habitat characteristics in the PPR.

Ducks Unlimited says North Dakota ignoring private property rights

Ducks Unlimited says the decision of North Dakota’s governor to turn down the conservation organization’s request to buy property in Kidder County does not respect basic private property rights. Governor John Hoeven has refused DU’s application to buy an almost 600-acre piece of land from a private owner.

DU and Bayer CropScience team up to increase winter wheat

Bayer CropScience and Ducks Unlimited believe winter wheat has an important role to play in sustainable agriculture on the prairies and have joined forces to launch a North American project called “Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action.”

Final results in for duck banding in ND

DU was involved in duck banding at three sites in North Dakota from August 1 through September 17, 2008. The three sites were Lake Ilo NWR, Audubon NWR and Coteau Ranch in southern Sheridan County.

DU Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic big success

Parents of about 40 children likely had noisy houses after the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Clinic in August at Ducks Unlimited’s Great Plains Regional Office. Duck calls were just one of the goodies the waterfowler wannabes went home with after the successful day of sessions geared to sparking their interest in hunting. “We wanted to try to help get young people interested in hunting,” said Scott Stephens, organizer of the event.

North Dakota duck banding numbers reported

We are again working cooperatively with the Central Flyway Council and banding ducks at Lake Ilo NWR and Audubon NWR. In addition, DU is fielding a banding crew that is banding at the Coteau Ranch and the area around the Ranch.

Bayer CropScience recognized for winter wheat program contributions

Bayer CropScience was recognized recently for outstanding contributions to Ducks Unlimited’s Winter Cereals Program.

Ducks Unlimited and NDDOT launch charitable plate program

Bismarck, N.D., January 29, 2008 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) supporters in North Dakota have a new way to contribute to wetland and waterfowl conservation by putting the duck on their cars and trucks. Gov. John Hoeven announced today that the North Dakota Department of Transportation has approved a new license plate featuring DU.

Ducks Unlimited nature trail highlights importance of prairie grasslands

MCCLUSKY, N.D, October 22, 2007 – At a North Dakota ceremony on Saturday, Ducks Unlimited honored a devoted Georgia staff member by dedicating the Dan Denton Memorial Nature Trail. The nature trail is located on Ducks Unlimited’s new Coteau Ranch, southeast of McClusky, N.D.

Strong leadership from North Dakota Delegation to protect native prairie

BISMARCK, N.D. September 5, 2007 - Ducks Unlimited applauds the leadership shown by North Dakota U.S. Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan. Both expressed their support for protecting native prairie in the 2007 farm bill in a Bismarck Tribune article this week.

Ducks Unlimited gives Wells County property to ND Game and Fish

BISMARCK, ND, May 18, 2007 - Ducks Unlimited (DU), through its Great Plains Regional Office (GPRO) in Bismarck, is gifting two parcels of land totaling 400 acres to the state of North Dakota. DU turned over the Wells County properties to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department this week.

Ducks Unlimited program to develop grazing on expired CRP

BISMARCK, N.D., March 6, 2007 - Ducks Unlimited (DU) has announced a new program to cost-share water and fencing projects with North Dakota ranchers on expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. Under the Grassland Partnership Program (GPP), DU will provide 50 percent of the cost, up to $3,500, for various water projects and up to $2,000 per mile for new fencing. Eligible water projects are targeted to the Missouri Couteau region of the state and include new wells and other permanent water projects that benefit range livestock

DU livestock water program funds still available.

BISMARCK, ND, Sept. 19, 2006 - Cows, water, grass and ducks go together. That is why Ducks Unlimited (DU) is offering a program to help ranchers keep cattle on their pastures by improving their livestock’s water supplies. Funds are still available for DU’s Grassland Partnership Program (GPP), which reimburses livestock owners 50 percent of the cost of water development projects, up to $3,500, that offer long-lasting solutions to each rancher’s livestock water problems.

Final ND duck banding update

Duck banding by the two crews DU/CF crews in North Dakota terminated on September 19. It was a good year for both crews. The Crosby crew banded 5,011 ducks including 3,061 blue-winged teal, 606 pintails, 532 gadwall and 341 mallards. The crew at Lake Ilo NWR banded 1,750 ducks including 1,026 mallards and 589 blue-winged teal.

DU participates in marsh bird study

A marsh bird study in central North Dakota again received a generous boost in funding from a pipeline company that transports natural gas across the state.

Loss of CRP acres spells trouble for producers and wildlife

Hundreds of thousands of acres of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land will plummet from the North Dakota landscape over the next 8 years, says the national conservation organization Ducks Unlimited (DU). Such a dramatic change across the state is likely to have dire consequences for cattle producers and wildlife alike, especially in drought years like this one when ranchers are looking to CRP land to feed their cattle.

Ducks Unlimited program to aid drought-stricken ranchers

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has announced a new program to cost-share water projects with North Dakota ranchers in portions of six drought-stricken counties.

Ducks Unlimited program to aid drought-stricken ranchers - ND

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has announced a new program to cost-share water projects with North Dakota ranchers in portions of six drought-stricken counties.

North Dakota Named One of Top States at Ducks Unlimited’s Annual Convention

Ducks Unlimited (DU) volunteers from North Dakota took home a Bronze State Award from DU’s annual convention in Phoenix, Ariz. DU’s State Awards recognize states whose volunteers excelled at growing and improving their fund-raising and conservation efforts on behalf of DU.

Farm Bill Conservation Programs: Challenges on the Horizon

The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been part of the North Dakota landscape for the past 20 years. Congress first authorized CRP under the Food Security Act of 1985 with a nationwide cap of 45 million acres. Currently, the nationwide cap is 39.2 million acres and there are 35.9 million acres enrolled. Approximately 8.0 million acres are located in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) and 3.3 million acres in N.D.

North Dakota almost top in the US in acres conserved through NAWCA

North Dakota ranks close to the top in the amount of North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) dollars we receive and the number of acres DU and its partners are able to conserve with that money.

The Cow Connection

As we focus in North Dakota on the linkage between Ducks Unlimited (DU) and waterfowl conservation, there is another connection that is becoming increasingly important – the “cow connection.”

Northwestern Great Plains

An overview of Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation work in the Northwestern Great Plains priority area.

Prairie Pothole Region

The Prairie Pothole Region, North America's Duck Factory, is at the heart of Ducks Unlimited's conservation mission. Read more about DU's PPR priority area.

Hal Kantrud Wetland

DU repaired the emergency spillway at the Hal Kantrud Wetland in the fall of 2004 and installed a small agri-drain water control structure. The repaired spillway will alleviate future erosion within the emergency spillway and allow better water management opportunities to improve habitat for breeding waterfowl.

Lynch Dam

DU installed a water control structure and excavated a new emergency spillway in the Lynch Dam, during the Fall and Winter 2004/2005, to restore the wetland to it’s original elevation. These improvements will help alleviate future flooding problems and will allow for water level manipulations, which will greatly improve habitat conditions for breeding waterfowl and other waterbirds.

Winter Cereals Program

Farmer enrollments in Ducks Unlimited’s Winter Cereals Program has grown from 1,100 the program’s first year to over 8,000 acres this year. DU provides a $7 an acre incentive to producers for up to 150 acres, under three year contracts. Research indicates winter cereal crops, such as winter wheat, provide nesting cover that helps produce 35 times more ducks than spring seeded crops.

North Dakota Conservation Projects

Ducks Unlimited habitat conservation projects in North Dakota. These projects benefit waterfowl, other wildlife and people. View sample projects, project map and more.
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