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Migration Alert: South Dakota Hunters Wait on Migration

Hunters in South Dakota have enjoyed weeks of successful waterfowl hunting thanks to a strong breeding effort in local portions of the Prairie Pothole Region. As October grows to a close, however, South Dakotans are still waiting for a major flight of birds from the north.

State Officers


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.

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.

2014 Lake Alvin Gun Winner List


South Dakota resident elected to Ducks Unlimited’s national board of directors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – July 22, 2014 – Jeff Heidelbauer, of Custer, South Dakota, was elected to Ducks Unlimited Inc.’s national board of directors during the organization’s annual convention in St. Louis.

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.

DU Acquires Three South Dakota Properties for Waterfowl

Ducks Unlimited has acquired three more parcels of land in South Dakota with high waterfowl habitat value.

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: Ground Crew Wrapping Up South Dakota

The Eastern Dakotas ground crew is going to survey the last air-ground correction segment in South Dakota tomorrow, and my overall impression so far is that South Dakota was pretty dry and the duck numbers are a little down.

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.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Met With Ground Crew - Everything is Ready

Today, we met up with our excellent ground crew (waterfowl biologists Pam Garrettson and Brent West) and went out to look at a dozen wetlands in the area.

Breeding Grounds Survey: Calibrating for the Survey

Brenda and I took to the air today to calibrate our transect width—to ensure we are only counting birds within 200 meters on either side of the aircraft. The survey calculations are based on this transect width, so it is very important that all flight crews calibrate their observations.

Land Purchase Benefits South Dakota Waterfowl Production Area

Ducks Unlimited is enhancing and protecting a South Dakota property in prime waterfowl nesting territory. As part of its revolving lands strategy, DU recently acquired the 65-acre Van Zee tract, which is located in Douglas County, near the Broken Arrow Waterfowl Production Area.

Sioux Falls chapter recognized nationally

SIOUX FALLS, S.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 Sioux Falls chapter made the Top 100 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.

South Dakota’s Kurt Forman honored at 2014 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards ceremony

Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2014 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards yesterday during the 79th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Denver. This year’s recipient in the Federal Employee category is Kurt Forman of South Dakota.

State Officers


farm bill South Dakota

Jan. 28, 2014 – After months of intense negotiations, the Farm Bill conference committee released their report yesterday on the 2014 Farm Bill. The bill now heads to the House and Senate for confirmation, and Ducks Unlimited is encouraged by the report and supportive of its passage in both houses.

2014 Lake Alvin Gun List


2014 Lake Alvin Ducks Unlimited Calendar Raffle


Migration Alert: 840k Mallards on Missouri River in South Dakota

The situation playing out along the Missouri River in central South Dakota is similar to what hunters witnessed in 2012. Massive waterfowl numbers are once again rafting up on this large impounded river system and feeding in adjacent grainfields in droves.

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.

2014 Lake Alvin Gun Winner List


Migration Alert: Early Season Success for South Dakota Duck Hunters

The opening day of the duck season marks the official arrival of fall for many hunters in South Dakota, and for those who took to the fields and marshes this past weekend, autumn seems to have arrived with a bang.

DU celebrates first sale of 2013-2014 federal duck stamps

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - June 27, 2013 - The new 2013-2014 federal duck stamp goes on sale this Friday, June 28. The stamps, which cost $15, are valid through June 30, 2014. Purchased by millions of waterfowl hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and collectors every year, duck stamps help raise money to purchase and protect wetlands for ducks, geese and other wildlife species.

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.

South Dakota writer honored at 2013 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards Ceremony

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – April 1, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2013 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 78th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Arlington, Va., at the Crystal Gateway Hyatt. This year's recipient in the Communications category is freelance writer John Pollmann.

South Dakota DU honors Kurt Forman with Friend of Ducks award

WATERTOWN, S.D. – Jan. 31, 2013 – South Dakota Ducks Unlimited has named U.S. Fish and Wildlife Partners for Fish and Wildlife Project Leader Kurt Forman as its 2013 “Friend of the Ducks.” Forman was given the award at DU’s recent state convention in Watertown.

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.

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.

Migration Alert: Snows, Whitefronts are winging it, but duck data differs

If Sandhill cranes were leading the charge south in the last couple of weeks, then specks and snows are hot on their tail in the eastern half of the Central Flyway.

Migration Alert: Sandhill Cranes Signal Migration Kick-Off

One of the first signs of autumn’s migration is the trilling call of Sandhill cranes as they wing their way south for the season. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been hearing cranes, and picking their faint outlines out of the clouds.

DU Volunteer Day in SD

IPSWICH, S.D. – More than 30 volunteers got the opportunity recently to band ducks at Ducks Unlimited’s Goebel Ranch in South Dakota during DU South Dakota’s fourth annual volunteer day. The volunteers helped DU staff band more than 200 ducks at different wetlands around the ranch.

Revolving Land Strategy Protects Native Prairie

Proceeds from the sale of part of DU's Goebel Ranch in South Dakota are being reinvested to conserve more native prairie nesting habitat for waterfowl.

DU supports opening some CRP lands for drought-stricken ranchers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Aug. 3, 2012 - Ducks Unlimited supports opening certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to haying and grazing during the current drought affecting livestock feed supplies. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack opened nearly 4 million acres of CRP land this week for livestock producers dealing with shortages of hay and pastureland.

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.

Transportation Bill Land and Water Conservation Funding Provisions Important to Sportsmen

Pierre, SD — May 24, 2012 — Leaders representing sportsmen's interests, including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, a South Dakota farmer/rancher, and the former Secretary of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, joined today to call on Congress to maintain funding for land and water conservation programs as they debate a final transportation authorization bill.

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.

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.

South Dakota: Goebel Ranch

The Goebel Ranch is located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region and is nestled in a portion of the Missouri Coteau where, on average, more than 100 pairs of ducks per square mile settle and breed each year. The ranch and surrounding prairie landscape contain thousands of shallow, seasonal wetlands that are ideal for duck production.

Berg Brothers Dedication—South Dakota

Oct. 2011: The Henning-Berg Game Production Area in South Dakota was dedicated to Bob and Rosemary Berg of Longville, Minnesota, and Rick and Pam Berg of Watertown, South Dakota.

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.

Department of Interior Announces Four New Conservation Areas

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited both Capitol Hill and the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida last week to celebrate the establishment of four new conservation areas and wildlife refuges.

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.

Public hunting on DU lands in South Dakota

Several Ducks Unlimited-owned properties in South Dakota are open to public hunting during the season.

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.

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.

DU holds recognition events for Berg family

Ducks Unlimited is honoring the Berg family for significant accomplishments as DU volunteers. Bob and Rosemary Berg, Longville, and Rick and Pam Berg, Watertown, S.D., have played very active roles for DU locally and nationally for more than 35 years.

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.

License Plate Decals


Salazar pushes protecting the Duck Factory during State of the Birds

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says easements on private land are an efficient way to provide conservation in critical habitat, while helping ranchers stay in business.

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

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.

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.

Duck Banding on the Prairies, Update 9/7/10

Much like the mailman DU’s duck banders in North Dakota continue to work through the intense summer heat, strong winds, torrential rainstorms and an occasional beautiful, delightful day. An update on banding at the three locations follows:

Good for landowners, good for ducks

Landowners can benefit their operations, improve water quality and control flooding all while conserving wetlands for waterfowl and other wildlife through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

2nd Annual Volunteer Day on the Prairie

SD Ducks Unlimited Volunteers (and family members) participated in the 2nd Annual Volunteer Day on the Prairie which was held Saturday August 14th at the Goebel Ranch in McPherson Co. Participants watched DU conservation in action in the heart of the North American Duck Factory! Not only did they observe duck banding but participated in banding and release ducks

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.

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.

Great start on nesting grounds may indicate good production year for waterfowl

MCCLUSKY, N.D. - May 25, 2010 - The hills are alive with breeding ducks. Conditions in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) are excellent for waterfowl production. And birds are taking full advantage of the food and nesting cover available to them.

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.

South Dakota senator receives Ducks Unlimited 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award

Outstanding contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation recognized MEMPHIS, Tenn. - March 26, 2010 - South Dakota Senator John Thune has been announced as the recipient of a 2010 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award from Ducks Unlimited.

New place to hunt thanks to SDGFP and DU partnership

WOONSOCKET, S.D., March 29, 2010 – Ducks Unlimited restored a premier property near Woonsocket, S.D. and has sold the land to the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department. The property will provide essential waterfowl breeding and migration habitat and will be open to public hunting this fall.

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.

Artists honored at WPA dedication

About 100 Ducks Unlimited supporters gathered this spring to dedicate the DU wetland restoration and enhancement project on Dry Lake Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) in South Dakota and to honor eight South Dakota wildlife artists who have contributed significantly to wildlife habitat in South Dakota, the United States and the continent and also to Ducks Unlimited. The 1,200-acre Dry Lake WPA is owned by the U. S. Government and managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Goebel Ranch Hosts DU Volunteer Field Day

DU volunteers from across South Dakota and neighboring states participated in an educational field day at DU’s Goebel Ranch located in McPherson County, SD on Saturday August 22, 2009. The nearly 40 individuals who participated in the event learned about the critically important conservation work and research DU is conducting on the Goebel Ranch and across the entire prairie landscape of the Dakotas.

SD Goebel Ranch nesting research crew studies nearly 1200 nests

The duck nest research at Goebel Ranch in South Dakota is winding down and we’re looking forward to a busy season of duck banding that will begin next week. Wetland conditions are good at Goebel, with lots of brood water and plenty of broods occupying the wetlands. This is quite a refreshing change after 7 years of dry conditions in the area. There still are a hand full of birds sitting on nests, in fact we just flushed a pintail off her nest just yesterday – these late setters better hope for a late winter if they want their offspring to make the flight south!!

DU commends Congressional leadership for efforts to protect grassland

BISMARCK, N.D., July 23, 2009 – Ducks Unlimited commends House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairmen Collin Peterson and Tom Harkin for their leadership to remove incentives from farm policy that encourage destruction of native grasslands. DU says this is a positive step to ensure grass remains on the landscape not only for waterfowl but also for ranching and combating global climate change.

Range Day highlights DU grazing research

About 70 area ranchers and conservation and extension staffers gathered this past week to learn about Ducks Unlimited’s South Dakota cattle grazing and duck nesting success research at the second annual NRCS McPherson County Range Day event held at DU’s Goebel Ranch.

Senate makes next step toward protecting America’s waters

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2009 – The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 12 to 7 today to advance an amended Clean Water Restoration Act to the full Senate. Ducks Unlimited says this is a positive move to protect wetlands for waterfowl and clean water for America.

SD growers, SDSU, Bayer CropScience and DU share vision with Congress

WASHINGTON – June 16, 2009 – A delegation representing South 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.

Clean Water Action Center

Get involved with DU's efforts for Clean Water Restoration Act

New bill would restore protections for wetlands

WASHINGTON – April 2, 2009 – America’s wetlands would have their Clean Water Act protections restored under a new bill introduced today by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (Wisc.) and 23 co-sponsors. The Clean Water Restoration Act, which is supported by Ducks Unlimited and other conservation/sportsmen’s groups, would restore protection to more than 20 million acres of geographically isolated wetlands at risk of pollution and destruction under current guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers.

Follow DU's nesting success research

Early May finds pairs of mallards and pintails defending their breeding territories and prospecting for nest sites across the Coteau region of North and South Dakota. Meanwhile the first passes are being made with ATVs towing chains as our research staff begins collecting valuable information about how the nests of those ducks will fare in landscapes of differing habitat quality.

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.

June 2009 Habitat Conditions in North-Central U. S.

Spring precipitation has been spotty across the Northern Great Plains and , though wetland conditions continue to be generally good to excellent across a large part of the region, the grasslands are in need of moisture to stimulate lush growth.

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.

DU’s Goebel Ranch hosts well traveled ducks

Duck band recovery is one of the most useful tools managers use to track duck movements and harvest patterns. It is also one of the most interesting. Biologists at Ducks Unlimited’s Goebel Ranch in South Dakota have been banding ducks and ducklings since 2002. There are nearly 1,100 reported recoveries from over 14,000 birds banded at Goebel.

Grassland conservation needed to combat birds’ climate change woes

BISMARCK, ND, March 2, 2009 – Grassland birds, whose populations are in a persistent decline, may be poorly positioned to adjust to a warming climate as a result of dwindling habitat. According to a recent analysis by Ducks Unlimited, the continued loss of grassland habitats could spell the same challenges for breeding waterfowl

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.”

Whoopers visit DU property in Nebraska

A pair of adult whooping cranes and a young bird recently visited Ducks Unlimited's Hinz property in Nebraska's Rainwater Basin. DU property manager David Hoferer snapped a picture of the three on the 160 acre property in Kearney County, about four miles southwest of Minden.

Public hunting on DU lands in South Dakota

Public hunting on DU lands in South Dakota

Duck numbers at Goebel good, despite dry year

We wrapped up the banding season last week and had a pretty good year considering the very dry wetland conditions on DU's Goebel Ranch in South Dakota. Over the past five years we’ve averaged about 2,500 total ducks banded. This year we managed to band a little over 1,500, down 40 percent from the five-year average. The percent composition of bluewings this year compared to the five-year average at Goebel was a bit higher, (76 percent of total compared to 63 percent of total), however, percent composition of mallards was down appreciably from 20 percent over the 5-year average, to 8 percent this year.

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.

Prime hunting land for sale in the Dakotas

Ducks Unlimited is offering for sale prime hunting land in South and North Dakota. Here is one example:

Habitat Conditions in North-Central U. S. – June 3, 2008

Spring precipitation in the form of snow and rain improved habitat conditions for waterfowl production in many areas of the Northern Great Plains.

Bayer CropScience recognized for winter wheat program contributions

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

DU receives gifts of land; creates Coteau Ranch

Seeing is believing, and nothing compares with experiencing the Prairie Pothole Region firsthand. Whistling wings and courtship calls; sapphire wetlands nestled in a sea of endless grass. Now, thanks to the generosity of three donors, DU supporters and the public can revel in the sights and sounds of the prairie on Ducks Unlimited’s newest property.

Ducks Unlimited conservation heats up with “global warming” interest

“Global warming” is catching the attention of the public in a big way. Business people are striving to make their corporations “carbon neutral” as a way to appeal to customers

IRA gifts – a tax-friendly way to help the ducks

Provisions in the Pension Protection Act of 2006 have provided a tax-friendly way of making major gifts to Ducks Unlimited. You have until December 31, 2007 to gift an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to charities without paying income tax and capital gains on the funds.

South Dakota DU Organizational License Plate

DU Stickers for SD organizational plate information

Upper Mississippi River

An overview of Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation work in the Upper Mississippi River priority area

Northwestern Great Plains

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

Southern Great Plains

An overview of Ducks Unlimited's habitat conservation work in the Southern 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.

Where South Dakota's Ducks Come From

The Prairie Pothole Region is critical to Wyoming waterfowl hunters. The vast majority of our annual duck harvest migrates to us from the Prairie Pothole Region, also referred to as “the duck factory”.

West River Wetland Development Projects

During 2006 DU, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks initiated a project to develop wetlands habitat on private lands in western South Dakota. A number of potential wetland sites have been reviewed and the first project site (in Bennett County) will be developed in the spring of 2007.

Butte-Lawrence Counties Conservation District Wetland Development

DU has worked cooperatively with the Butte-Lawrence Counties Conservation District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for several years developing wetlands in western South Dakota. During the recent two years 23 wetland impoundments totaling 111.3 acres were created or restored on private lands owned by 18 separate landowners in Butte and Lawrence counties.

Mellette/Jackson Counties Conservation Districts Wetland Development

DU was a funding partner with Mellette and Jackson Counties Conservation Districts, South Dakota Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks and 10 landowners in the creation and restoration of 14 wetland impoundments in Mellette and Jackson Counties. The wetlands total 30.4 acres and are situated in large blocks of grassland used for livestock pasture.

Schurr/Stoner Complex

This wetland grassland complex owned and managed by DU is located west of Ipswich in Edmunds County. Native grasses were seeded on 480 acres on this property last spring as part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and another 160 acres of native grasses were seeded on160 acres as part of WRP.

South Dakota Agronomy Project

Incentives were paid on 1,094 acres of winter cereals to 12 agriculture producers in Day County in 2006. The 2005 winter wheat crop was severely impacted by fusarium head blight or scab.

Threatened Habitats Project

DU initiated cooperation with the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Council, U.S. fish and Wildlife Service and other partners on this long-term landscape project in 21 south central South Dakota counties five years ago. Objectives of the project are to protect, restore, and enhance wetland and grassland habitats and create wetlands habitat in the large project area.

Swenson Property

DU purchased the 400-acre Swenson Property in 2003 and continues to restore and manage habitat on the tract. During this past year 390 acres were enrolled in the USDA Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Wetland Development Project

DU completed phase 6 of this cooperative wetland development project with the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. In this phase three new wetlands were created totaling 8 surface acres.

Goebel Ranch and DU holdings

Ducks Unlimited's Goebel Ranch in South Dakota is a successful example of what a large expanse of native prairie can do for ducks, cattle and people. The 9,455-acre working ranch is a breeding duck's paradise, with wetlands surrounded by lush grasslands. In 2011, DU sold 7,300 acres of the ranch and will reinvest the funds in the revolving land program.

Ingle and LeClaire production areas

Ducks Unlimited provided funding to restore native grasses on two Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA). They are owned and managed by the USFWS and are situated in the James River Lowlands in Beadle County near Huron.

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.

Mark White Wetland Development

Ducks Unlimited is a partner in a project to develop shallow wetlands. The USFWS initiated this NAWCA-funded project, Threatened Habitats, in 21 central South Dakota counties.

Tallgrass Prairie Conservation Initiative

Ducks Unlimited has initiated a habitat improvement partnership with six east central South Dakota Conservation Districts to address grassland loss and poor range condition in the Tallgrass Prairie ecozone. Other partners in the project include the South Dakota Conservation Commission, SDDGFP, USFWS, and many private landowners.

Todd Cowan Tract

Ducks Unlimited, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, purchased the 960-acre Todd Cowan Tract as an addition to the 1,4000-acre June Harter Waterfowl Production Area. The Hyde County property, southwest of Highmore, contains 782 acres of native prairie, 52 acres of wetlands habitat and 52 acres of cropland The wetlands habitat includes three earthen dam impoundments situated on Chapelle Creek and numerous prairie pothole wetlands scattered across the tract.

James River Lowlands - Missouri Coteau NAWCA Project

Ducks Unlimited received a $970,000 grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Council to help fund the acquisition of perpetual grassland and wetland easements on Prairie Pothole habitat in South Dakota. This grant specifically identified Hyde and Hand Counties as focus areas because of its importance for northern pintail production.

DU Acquires Showalter Property on Missouri Coteau

Nancy Showalter sold her 240-acre Hyde County, SD, property to Ducks Unlimited because she wanted to see her family’s native prairie preserved and the livestock heritage of the area sustained. DU purchased the Showalter property because other potential buyers would have converted the prairie to cropland and nearly eliminated the waterfowl and wildlife value of this area that is particularly attractive to pintails.

Bown Tract

An important duck-breeding habitat in central South Dakota will remain in grassland and wetlands forever, thanks to an acquisition made in December by Ducks Unlimited.

South Dakota Conservation Projects

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

Fants Grove WMA - Beaverdam Creek Project

The purpose of this project was to create 66 acres of wintering waterfowl habitat on Fants Grove WMA by constructing a dike along Beaverdam Creek and installing a water control structure to facilitate water level management. Subsequent to the original construction, a wellhead was established to provide a dependable source of water during fall and winter months.
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