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prairie pothole region


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 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.

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.

Pintail Flat, Phillips County, Montana

Using RHP, Ducks Unlimited will protect the 1,760-acre Pintail Flat property in Phillips County. DU is working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to ensure perpetual grassland management and public access for hunting. DU will sell the property to a local rancher, honoring traditional land uses.

Diverse duck population drawn to enhanced prairie pothole

Minnesota’s Delong Waterfowl Production Area in west-central Minnesota gets a lot of duck use and recent Ducks Unlimited habitat work will further enhance the site.

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.

Conservation: DU's Ducks in the Desert Initiative

At first glance, the scarce wetlands of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona may seem unimportant to waterfowl, but in reality they provide crucial habitat for Pacific Flyway duck populations. These wetlands are oases for millions of ducks raised in the Western Boreal Forest and Prairie Pothole Region as the birds migrate across the dry and rugged western United States. Many large lakes and marshes in the region also support impressive numbers of wintering waterfowl that, like many people, flock to the desert during the coldest months of the year.

Ducks Unlimited to conserve 600 acres of Minnesota wetlands with Outdoor Heritage Fund support

Ducks Unlimited will conserve 600 acres or more of crucial prairie land and wetland habitat in southwest Minnesota with $5,801,000 in funding from Minnesota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund.

DU's partners in prairie research on the Bakken

Ducks Unlimited partners in research on the portion of the Prairie Pothole Region that overlaps with the Bakken oil field

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.

Ducks Unlimited Research in the Prairies

In one of the world’s most productive waterfowl nesting grounds, Ducks Unlimited’s scientists are looking for the best-of-the-best nesting habitat. Using this research, DU and its partners can invest in protecting and restoring the type of habitat that will produce the most waterfowl.

Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism honored

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – March 18, 2016 – Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KWPT) was recognized today for its cumulative $1 million in contributions supporting wetlands protection and restoration on the Canadian breeding grounds, which are important to Kansas’ waterfowl populations. The ceremony took place at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Marble-Hottes Lakes Enhancement Project completed

Improved hunting and fishing habitat is expected thanks to a much-anticipated Marble-Hottes Lakes Enhancement project in Dickinson County.

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).

DU dedicates Northwest Prairies Pothole project in Wisconsin

Ducks Unlimited celebrated the successful management of northwest Wisconsin wildlife areas during a dedication ceremony Saturday, Sept. 19.

DU land in South Dakota open for hunting this fall

Ducks Unlimited is restoring three important waterfowl habitat properties in Sanborn County. The properties and other DU land are open to public hunting this fall and included in the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Habitat Atlas.

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.

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.

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 protects 800-acre block of habitat near South Dakota’s Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Ducks Unlimited (DU) has acquired another important piece of waterfowl habitat just west of the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. The 160-acre property is adjacent to both the Higgins and Columbia properties now in DU’s Revolving Land Program. With the addition of the Weismantel tract, DU will have protected an 800-acre block of habitat from three tracts a mile from Sand Lake, one of the most important waterfowl refuges in North America.

DU restoring significant waterfowl habitat in Sanborn County

Ducks Unlimited recently acquired two important waterfowl habitat properties in Sanborn County, about two miles apart from each other. The 524-acre Summit Ag Fund property is located approximately seven miles southeast of Woonsocket, and the 160-acre Bennett property is three miles northwest of Letcher. This area of Sanborn County contains a rich network of wetland habitats that attract large numbers of breeding waterfowl when water conditions are suitable.

DU to protect Hyde County property, rich with wetlands

Ducks Unlimited (DU) recently acquired the 320-acre Hahn property in Hyde County, approximately 10 miles northwest of Highmore. DU will restore and permanently protect the property as part of its Revolving Land Program.

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.

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.

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).

PPR Research Crew Update

The team has begun its second round of breeding duck pair surveys. During this round, the researchers are observing breeding pairs of later-nesting species. By the end of this week, they will have surveyed nearly 1,000 wetland basins on about 22 study plots.

DU Research Team in the Bakken Oil Fields Covering Ground

The DU research team looking at waterfowl productivity in the oil patch portion of the Prairie Pothole Region is now about halfway done with the first round of its pair survey. They have surveyed about 1,500 wetland basins on 30 four-square mile study plots.

Ducks Unlimited Bakken Prairie Research Begins

Ducks Unlimited techs have begun surveying duck pairs on wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) area of the Bakken oil field in northwest North Dakota and northeast Montana. The technicians aim to survey breeding pairs on 4,000 wetland basins on 62 study plots this spring.

Status of the Prairies

An inside look at the state of waterfowl habitat in North America's Duck Factory

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.

DU conserves South Dakota property with important habitat

WATERTOWN, S.D.- Ducks Unlimited (DU) has secured a purchase agreement on the 160-acre Schafer property in Deuel County, approximately 18 miles east-northeast of Watertown. The Schafer property is located in a landscape rich with duck habitat.

Ducks Unlimited protects habitat on South Dakota's Waubay Lake

WEBSTER, S.D. - In early December, Ducks Unlimited was the successful bidder on a 296-acre property on the southwest corner of Waubay Lake, just two miles northeast of Webster. The Denholm property is a unique mix of wetlands and native grasslands. None of this important waterfowl habitat is protected with any conservation easements, which made it a natural fit for DU’s Revolving Habitat Program.

DU South Dakota tract becomes part of adjoining WPA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently purchased a 160-acre portion of Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) Villhauer Tract in McPherson County, South Dakota. The original 640-acre Villhauer property was acquired by DU several years ago as part of the Revolving Habitat Program. Other portions of the property have already been perpetually protected and sold to private landowners.

Summit Ag Fund Property

Ducks Unlimited (DU) is protecting 524 acres of remarkable waterfowl habitat in east-central South Dakota. The property is located six miles south and two miles east of Woonsocket and in the middle of the James River Lowlands Focus Area. This landscape is dotted with numerous, shallow wetland habitats. During wet years, this landscape attracts large numbers of breeding waterfowl.

DU announces five-year commitment in South Dakota

MITCHELL, S.D., Feb. 14, 2014 - Ducks Unlimited is pledging to spend $1.8 million dollars on conservation programs in South Dakota in each of the next five years. DU is promising its continued investment in protecting and restoring the best-of-the-best waterfowl habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of South Dakota.

Former DU property added to SD waterfowl production area

A former Ducks Unlimited property is now part of a waterfowl production area. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently purchased 160-acres of DU’s Villhauer Property in McPherson County, South Dakota.

Texas Prairie Wetlands Project Receives Oil Spill Settlement Funding

In late 2013, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced five projects to restore and enhance habitats for species impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Disaster. The list included the Gulf Coast Migratory Waterfowl Enhancement Project, which has made waterfowl one of the first beneficiaries of the oil spill settlement.

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.

Major Sponsors Get Firsthand Look at Conservation Work on Canadian Prairies

Spring on the Canadian prairies is a special time of year for anyone who appreciates wildlife and the outdoors. This past June, a small group of Ducks Unlimited supporters had the opportunity to witness this amazing season firsthand during a Canadian Experience event hosted by DU Canada. The guests gathered in Calgary, Alberta, for an insiders' look at DU Canada's success and ongoing commitment to conserving the prairie landscape.

Gray Family Honored for Conservation Efforts in Montana

Ducks Unlimited recently recognized the Gray family for their efforts to protect some of the most important wetlands on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in northern Montana. Emery Gray, a tribal member, passed away just before the project was finished. This spring, a sign was placed on the property overlooking the restored wetland complex to pay tribute to Gray's tireless efforts.

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.

Conservation on Montana's Fort Belknap Indian Reservation

Ducks Unlimited recently recognized the work of the Gray family for their efforts to protect some of the most beneficial wetlands on Montana’s Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Emery Gray, a tribal member, passed away just before the project was finalized. This spring, a sign was placed on the property overlooking the restored wetland complex to pay tribute to his efforts.

Wetland losses point to importance of protecting the prairies

Ducks Unlimited (DU) says a documented drop in wetland numbers in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) during a recent 12-year period could add up to a loss of breeding habitat for 100,000 duck pairs. A new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the status of prairie wetlands in the United States found the PPR lost more than 107,000 wetland basins from 1997 to 2009.

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.

Spring 2014 Habitat Conditions in Canada

After a long winter and late spring for most areas, the breeding season is underway. Migrants were delayed by 1-2 weeks but are establishing nests in the North and showing a strong breeding effort in the Prairies. More moisture will be needed in the Western Boreal Forest and in parts of southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, while higher-than-usual water levels have posed some challenges for nesters in the Eastern Region. Several areas are predicting a normal production year and next month's release of the 2014 Breeding Population Survey will provide more insight.

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.

Critical Conservation Areas overlap many DU priority areas

WASHINGTON – May 27, 2014 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the eight Critical Conservation Areas (CCA) established in the 2014 Farm Bill, which overlap with many of Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) priority regions.

Waterfowl beginning to nest in the prairies

BISMARCK, N.D. – May 09, 2014 – As the breeding season for ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) gets into full swing, the world will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) on Saturday, May 10. On this anniversary of IMBD, Ducks Unlimited says wetland conditions in the continent’s best “Duck Factory” are above average this year, but without sustained efforts to conserve wetland and grassland habitat, the future may not be bright for nesting birds.

Ducks Unlimited welcomes EPA, Army Corps draft rule on “Waters of the United States”

WASHINGTON – March 25, 2014 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today released the 300-page draft rule to clarify the “Waters of the United States” definition. This rule will clarify the extent to which the Clean Water Act protections can be restored to many wetlands vital to maintaining waterfowl populations.

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.

Oran Richard: Four Decades of Support Celebrated with Tribute Weekend

Oran Richard of Lafayette, Louisiana, is a longtime DU supporter, Wetlands America Trust board member, and Diamond Benefactor and Grand Slam Sponsor. His nearly 40 years of giving to DU's conservation work in Canada and the United States was held in March 2013 and raised $950,000.

Doug Roberts: New National Development Committee Member Balances Stewardship and Industry

Benefactor Sponsor Doug Roberts of Spanish Fort, Alabama, recently joined DU's National Development Committee. He is a landowner well versed in establishing and maintaining conservation easements with the help of Ducks Unlimited. Stewardship of the land is foremost in Doug's mind, and his appointment to the committee will help foster stronger bonds between members of American industry - where Doug works in coal - and conservation groups like DU. Doug's story appeared in the 2013 DU Annual Report.

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: Hard Freeze in Prairie Canada Expected, Fall Flight Moves into U.S.

Marshes and potholes on the Canadian prairies are freezing up tight, and as an even stronger cold front pushes across the region this weekend, remaining waterfowl concentrated on deeper waters should also begin to move south.

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.

New research from DU’s Great Plains Region guides future grassland easement priorities

Johann Walker, DU director of conservation planning for the Great Plains Region (GPR), is the lead author of a research paper that introduces a new adaptive strategy for securing conservation easements in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

USFWS director talks about sportsmen priorities, duck stamp

House fails to pass 2013 Farm Bill

In an unexpected outcome, the House of Representatives’ final vote on the 2013 Farm Bill was 195-234. The vote fell far short of the 218 required for passage.

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.

Ducks Unlimited receives $50,000 Wells Fargo grant

BISMARCK, N.D. – June 6, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited received a grant from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) today as part of a $3 million Wells Fargo Environmental Solutions for Communities grant program involving community-based nonprofits nationwide and helping support land and water conservation, energy efficiency, infrastructure and educational outreach.

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.

Peaks to Prairies Initiative

Restoring wetlands in the shadow of America's iconic Rocky Mountains and conserving the Duck Factory for outdoorsmen and women to enjoy.

Wetland conditions good for nesting migratory birds

BISMARCK, N.D. – May 10, 2013 – As the breeding season for ducks in the Prairie Pothole Region gets into full swing, the world will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) on Saturday, May 11. As IMBD draws near, Ducks Unlimited says habitat conditions in the continent’s “Duck Factory” are above average.

Land and Water Conservation Fund gets boost in proposed budget

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – April 10, 2013 – Conservationists, ranchers and private landowners in the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area (DGCA) have reason to be cautiously optimistic about the president’s proposed budget due to possible increases in conservation easement funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This proposal could benefit landowners in the Dakotas and provide much-needed voluntary incentives to protect prairie habitat. Ducks Unlimited has been a staunch supporter of the DGCA since its 2011 inception.

Home on the Range - Henry and Eleanor Carlson

Some call the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the United States and Canada the "Duck Factory" of North America. Henry and Eleanor Carlson just call it home. By helping Ducks Unlimited conserve native grasslands and pothole wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region, the Carlsons are not only securing the future of North America's waterfowl - they're preserving their family's history and heritage.

Giving Back to the Breeding Grounds - Dan and Linda Ray

Becoming a conservationist of prairie nesting habitat was something of a natural evolution for Dan Ray. Dan grew up near South Carolina's Santee Delta, known for its strong waterfowling heritage. But it was after he and his wife, Linda, bought Annandale Plantation, with its 3,500 acres of marshes and waterfowl habitat, that Dan truly fell in love with waterfowling, and it was after meeting Ducks Unlimited staff that he began to understand the connection between the quality of waterfowling in the Santee Delta and conservation efforts on the northern prairies.

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.

Help DU conserve crucial waterfowl breeding grounds today

With a grant from SportDOG, Ducks Unlimited, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will conserve 5,463 acres of wetland and wetland-associated grassland habitat using purchased perpetual easements along with fee-title (outright) purchase of important landscapes. Vote today!

Capitol visit successful for Iowa, Minnesota farmers

Jim Goodman, a Crescent, Iowa, landowner, joined Toni and Philip Brink of Traverse County, Minn., in Washington, D.C., on July 24-26 as part of a Ducks Unlimited farmer fly-in. These fly-ins help educate and inform legislators of the importance of the 2012 Farm Bill conservation programs, specifically funding for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

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.

Media Advisory: Sportsmen's groups urge keeping land and water conservation funding in transportation bill

The teleconference will give reporters a chance to hear about the opportunity to secure additional funding for habitat conservation and outdoor recreation access, and will provide an example of the areas that would benefit from funding.

High-Priority Habitats

Following are DU's five highest-priority landscapes, their importance to waterfowl and our efforts to conserve them for present and future generations.

"Caller-Times" columnist David Sikes honored at 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - March 16, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held at the Hilton Atlanta. This year's winner in the Communications category is David Sikes, outdoors columnist for the "Corpus Christi Caller-Times."

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.

Convention 2011 - Prairie Pothole Region

If you've ever been warmed on a cold, gray day by the sight of ducks on the horizon... If waterfowl have ever influenced your life... Then North America's prairies have, too.

Rescue the Duck Factory

Since its founding, DU has crossed international borders to conserve the prairies throughout Canada and the United States.

As Budget Talks Continue, the Future Remains Uncertain for Waterfowl

Two Meetings, One Day, Big Decisions for Proven Habitat Program

South Dakota Spectacular

The hunt of a lifetime is the reward for days of hard scouting in this state's prairie pothole country

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

Rep. King (IA) praises DU's NAWCA partnership

Rep. Steve King (IA) praised both Ducks Unlimited and NAWCA for the pivotal role this partnership plays in conserving precious waterfowl habitat. The praise came after last week's announcement that DU received a $1 million NAWCA grant for conservation projects in Iowa.

House introduces legislation to defund Clean Water Act guidance

In April, the Administration initiated steps to restore Clean Water Act protections to many wetlands and other waterways. While sportsmen across the country support efforts to establish Clean Water Act guidance that will clarify how to sustain wetlands and conserve the prairie potholes, the nation's most important breeding habitat, recent actions in the U.S. House of Representatives are threatening to stop this important effort.

Policy News 3-18

Ducks Unlimited Receives Highest Honor from USDA-NRCS; DU Leaders Visit Capitol Hill, Discuss Waterfowl Initiatives with Nation's Top Policymakers; DU explains importance of Clean Water Act draft guidance during media briefing

DU Leaders Visit Capitol Hill, Discuss Waterfowl Initiatives with Nation's Top Policymakers

Ducks Unlimited leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the critical role wetlands conservation programs play across the nation.

Policy News 3-17

DU lauds process to restore wetlands protections critical to waterfowl; Secretary of Interior Salazar Meets with DU in Pothole Country; DU's work in Wisconsin praised by Congressman Tom Petri

DU Sits Down With Secretary of Interior Salazar in South Dakota

Ducks Unlimited says Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar’s visit to South Dakota this week brings new light to America’s disappearing native prairie. Salazar met with DU and other conservation partners today to talk about the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area that would bring more dollars to retaining grassland through conservation easements on private land.

Stewards of the Prairie

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

Early Spring Habitat Conditions in Canada

A compilation of impressions, collected from Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) field staff, of environmental conditions relative to breeding waterfowl. These observations are not based on systematic surveys, and are not intended to describe hunting conditions.

Photo Essay: Spring on the Prairies

A look at what breeding waterfowl will find as they return to the Duck Factory

Photo Essay: Nesting Habitat

Experience the images waterfowl face when they arrive on the prairies this year

Secrets to Success

DU has discovered a wealth of new information about what drives duck production on the prairies

Policy News 3-7

DU voices strong opposition to massive federal conservation spending cuts; President announces plan for America's Great Outdoors Initiative; DU supports Senate bill that would make tax relief permanent for conservation donations; Coalition of conservation groups urges Congress to maintain funding for successful Great Lakes programs; DU joins NWF in urging USFWS to make restoration priority at NWR in Montana; DU co-hosts reception for Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Change to wetlands law in Wisconsin sets dangerous precedent throughout state; DU regional director urges Nebraska legislators to keep valuable state conservation grant program intact

Policy News 3-5

DU supports strengthening hunting tradition with additional funding for Open Fields; DU volunteers, staff attend South Carolina Sportsmen's Caucus luncheon; DU thanks state of Louisiana for $2 million support of marsh restoration project; USDA to hold general CRP sign-up for second consecutive year; DU uses Farm Bill easement program to protect critical rice land habitat in California; DU and partners ask state of California, DOI to consider wetlands, waterfowl during water crisis

U.S. States Support Canadian Habitat Conservation

With the establishment of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) in 1986, the United States, Canada, and Mexico embarked on an unprecedented conservation journey. They set out to restore continental waterfowl populations to the levels of the 1970s through targeted conservation efforts in all three countries.

Policy News 2-52

DU recognizes 25th anniversary of Conservation Reserve Program

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.

Sodsaver: Saving America's Prairies

A new wave of grassland conversion has occurred in the last decade, causing significant ecological and sociological impacts to the region. Current farm policy is fueling the destruction of this rare and important habitat. Congress must implement a policy in the 2012 Farm Bill to reverse this trend. Ducks Unlimited suggests calling this the "Sodsaver" provision.

The Farm Bill, Ducks, and the Economy

When most of us think of the Farm Bill, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) immediately comes to mind. We also think about how this program helps increase duck populations and can put more birds over our decoy spreads.

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

The GRP is a voluntary conservation program administered by the USDA's NRCS that helps landowners protect grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrub land, and other landscapes.

Photo Essay: Green is Golden

The mallard is North America's most widely-distributed and popular waterfowl species, highly coveted by waterfowlers.

2014 Farm Bill: A win-win for agriculture and wildlife

DU supports agricultural policy that conserves soil, water, wetlands, grasslands, and forests upon which both people and wildlife depend. The Farm Bill is the most effective tool for conserving wildlife habitat on private land, and it's DU's objective that both waterfowl and their habitats benefit from this policy.

Cold front sends Saskatchewan's ducks south in numbers

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, Manitoba - Nov. 3, 2010 - The "weather bomb" that recently wreaked havoc in numerous ways on much of North America also sent flight after flight of ducks south from Canada's Prairies.

Long Live the Canvasback

The future of the canvasback depends on conserving key wetland habitats, especially prairie potholes

The Waters of the United States

The future of prairie potholes and many other wetlands depends on how this simple phrase is interpreted

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.

Rescue the Duck Factory passes 100,000-acre milestone

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.

The Best of the Best

Wetland-rich native prairie and parkland are vital to the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.

2010 Spring Habitat Conditions

Waterfowl returned to variable wetland conditions this spring on key breeding areas.

Winter Wheat: The Duck-Friendly Crop

New partnership is a win-win for farmers and waterfowl.

The Moveable Feast

During spring migration, waterfowl need an abundance of food to return to the breeding grounds in good condition.

A Promising Way to Save the Duck Factory

Prairie conservation could figure prominently in future government climate policies.

Wetlands and Ducks in the Balance

Passage of the Clean Water Restoration Act is vital to the future of the nation’s wetlands and waterfowl .

Rescuing the Duck Factory

Ducks Unlimited needs your help now to save vital waterfowl breeding habitat on the prairies.

Using Science to Help Prairie Ducks

DU’s habitat investments in the Duck Factory are guided by extensive scientific research.

New CRP Practice Emphasizes Ducks

New enrollment guidelines will provide valuable nesting habitat, but significant challenges remain.

Prairies Under Siege

Ducks Unlimited scientists provide an in-depth look at the conservation of the Prairie Pothole Region in a comprehensive four-part series.

Plowing the Prairie

The duck factory is being plowed under at an alarming rate, but with your help, the next Farm Bill could bring relief

Prairies Under Siege: The Future of the Prairie Pothole Region

Jim Ringelman explains the actions necessary to keep the Prairie Pothole Region functioning and producing waterfowl for future generations.

Prairies Under Siege: Science and Conservation

Science is the most important factor driving Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation efforts in the Prairie Pothole Region.

Prairies Under Siege: New Threats to Ducks & Waterfowling

The Prairie Pothole Region, an area critical to waterfowl, is currently under attack from several sides, putting nesting habitat at risk.

Prairies Under Siege: Ducks, Habitat Conservation & Predators

Ducks Unlimited scientists explain why DU's focus remains on habitat conservation rather than predator control.

Studying Skunks

Lessons From the Prairie

Assessing and adapting conservation strategies helps improve our management of North America's ducks

The Cover Connection

Large areas of protected grasslands are essential for waterfowl populations nesting in the Prairie Pothole Region and across the Great Plains.

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.

Ducks and Winter Wheat

Making the Landscape Productive for Ducks and people

CRP - Conservation Reserve Program

In 1985, spring surveys by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service placed waterfowl breeding populations at 25.6 million ducks and predicted a fall flight of 54.5 million. Mallards, pintails and blue-winged teal in particular were in trouble, with populations at or near their lowest in the 30-year history of the surveys.

Special Report Prairies Under Siege: Part III

Prairies Under Siege: Part IV

Without aggressive measures to secure its habitat base, North America’s duck factory faces an uncertain future.

The Plain Truth About Prairie Ducks

Some things haven't changed. Weather and habitat conditions on the prairies remain the two most important factors influencing duck populations.

Grasslands for Tomorrow

Spanning the U.S. and Canadian border, the Prairie Pothole Region forms the core of what was formerly the largest expanse of grassland in the world. Glaciers receding at the end of the last Ice Age left behind millions of shallow wetlands-so-called prairie potholes-speckled in an endless sea of grass. Shallow wetlands teeming with aquatic plant and animal life are juxtaposed with grasslands communities lying atop deep, nutrient-rich soils. An impressive array of bird species is dependent on the productive and highly-diverse nature of the prairie.

Prairie Pothole Region - More Information

The Prairie Pothole Region, North America's "Duck Factory," provides critical nesting habitat for migrating waterfowl. Read more about the area's history and how it benefits other wildlife species as well.

Biodiversity in the Grassland Biome

Learn about biodiversity, biomes, grasslands and related ecosystems in this article about the declining diversity of grasslands habitats and the impact on waterfowl.

Grazing and Fire

Grassland habitat has been honed into a diverse, hearty ecosystem by centuries of controlled burning and grazing on the prairies.

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