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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.

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.

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.

South Dakota 2015-2016 Gun Winners

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.

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.

South Dakota's James River receives grant to prevent erosion and improve wildlife habitat

Huron, S.D. – Ducks Unlimited received two grants to help keep water in area rivers and creeks clear of erosion by restoring grassland and wetland habitat on 136 acres in Beadle County. These restorations will be along the James River.

South Dakota Ducks Unlimited 2016-2017 Gun List

South Dakota Ducks Unlimited Calendar Rules July 2016-June 2017

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.

DU Land For Sale in Central South Dakota

DU has over 600 acres of quality grassland habitat that will be for sale via live public auction on April 21, 2016. The sale of this land is part of DU’s Revolving Habitat Program (RHP) in SD. Under this program DU purchases land considered to be critical breeding and migratory waterfowl habitat from willing private landowners. Funds for the purchase of such lands have been raised by DU specifically for this purpose, and no “grassroots” dollars are used to purchase RHP land.

Migration Alert: Snow Geese Surge into South Dakota

Snow and cold temperatures this week have slowed the migration of snow geese into South Dakota, but a warm-up last weekend had large numbers of birds moving into the state.

Kimball man leads South Dakota Ducks Unlimited

MITCHELL, S.D., Feb. 17, 2016 - A love for hunting is what drew Harold Bickner to Ducks Unlimited, but it was DU’s conservation work that got him involved on a state level. Bickner accepted the group’s state chairmanship at the South Dakota DU convention this past weekend in Mitchell.

CRP sign up in South Dakota

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 South Dakota. Ducks Unlimited has conservation program biologists in the state who can help landowners.

S.D. wetland and dam repair will improve water quality, flood control

When full funding is achieved, Ducks Unlimited will be reconstructing a breached dam and restoring four wetland basins along Firesteel Creek in Aurora County. As well as providing critical breeding habitat to waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species, the restored wetlands will provide water for livestock and improve flood control and water quality in the watershed.

Migration Alert: Waterfowl Numbers on the Rise in South Dakota

A series of moderate cold fronts over the past two weeks have triggered the migration of waterfowl into South Dakota, providing hunters with a variety of opportunities at the midpoint of the season.

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).

Ducks Unlimited opens new property for hunting just in time for pheasant opener

ABERDEEN, S.D., Oct. 6, 2015 - Just in time for the annual holiday known as South Dakota pheasant opener, Ducks Unlimited announced a 160-acre property near Richmond Lake will be open to public hunting this fall. DU recently acquired the property on 127th Street, two miles west of Richmond Lake, which is west of Aberdeen.

DU Announces Five-Year Conservation Commitment in South Dakota

Ducks Unlimited has pledged to spend $1.8 million on conservation programs in South Dakota during each of the next five years to ensure that the best waterfowl habitat in the state's portion of the Prairie Pothole Region is protected and restored. The pledge was made in support of South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard's work to develop a state conservation fund.

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.

Ducks Unlimited and partners secure grant to restore South Dakota wetlands

BRITTON, S.D., Sept. 24, 2015 - Ducks Unlimited will be restoring a series of eastern South Dakota wetlands, providing more habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission recently approved a $1.6 million grant for these projects through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, a highly competitive wetlands conservation grant program managed by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. DU and its conservation partners will provide matching dollars to bring the project total to $3.3 million.

Ducks Unlimited to dedicate South Dakota project for Rescue our Wetlands

South Dakota Ducks Unlimited will dedicate a Watertown-area project as part of DU’s new Rescue our Wetlands campaign. DU announced the wetlands conservation campaign this spring at its national convention. Rescue Our Wetlands, is the most ambitious campaign in DU history with a goal of raising $2 billion dollars by the end of 2018.

Ducks Unlimited helps solve SD lake problems

Ducks Unlimited will restore wetland habitat along Firesteel Creek in South Dakota to provide habitat to waterfowl and other wildlife. The project will also benefit water quality in the creek that eventually flows into Lake Mitchell, a popular lake outside of the city of Mitchell. The lake is suffering from severe water quality issues related to excessive algae growth caused by high levels of phosphorous and other pollutants. Restoring this wetland will help keep pollutants from eventually flowing into Lake Mitchell.

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 recognizes Rep. Noem for Farm Bill efforts at Dakotafest

MITCHELL, SD — Last week, Ducks Unlimited volunteers and staff presented Rep. Kristi Noem with a national wetlands achievement award for her work on the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. This award was presented to her at Dakotafest in Mitchell, one of the state’s largest agricultural expos.

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.

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 Protects Habitat on South Dakota's Waubay Lake

In early December 2014, Ducks Unlimited secured a 296-acre property on the southwest corner of Waubay Lake, two miles northeast of Webster, South Dakota. Known as the Denholm property, this unique mix of wetlands and native grasslands was not protected with any conservation easements, making it a natural fit for DU's Revolving Habitat Program.

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.

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.

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.

Breeding Grounds Surveys: Tough Year Shaping Up

It's shaping up to be a tough year all the way around for the Eastern Dakotas survey. So far, we are only batting .500 on flying days, having only been able to fly 4 out of eight days so far due to weather. The forecast doesn't seem to show any signs of increasing efficiency either.

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.

SD Ducks Unlimited Calendar Rules July 2015 - June 2016

SD Ducks Unlimited 2015-2016 Gun List

South Dakota Gun Calendar

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.

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.

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.

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.

Snow Goose Destinations

The Light Goose Conservation Order (LGCO) is an excellent opportunity to extend the waterfowl season, but pinpointing this fast-paced migration can be a daunting task. Ice, snow, and food supplies dictate when and where millions of light geese will migrate north in the spring, and knowing where these conditions collide should lead you to the birds. Whether freelancing or planning a guided trip, the following destinations should be at the top of any LGCO hunter's list.

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.

South Dakota Ranch Owners Earn Leopold Conservation Award

The 2014 South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award was recently presented to Lyle, Garnet, Luke, and Naomi Perman, owners of Rock Hills Ranch near Lowry, South Dakota. Ducks Unlimited has been a sponsor of the award since it was established in 2010.

Migration Alert: Winter's Return to Northern Plains Spurs Significant Migration

Snow, strong winds, and low temperatures have ducks and geese on the move across the Northern Plains. This latest blast of winter weather may be enough to provide waterfowl hunters in mid- and southern states the spark needed to close out the final weeks of the season on a high note.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Public hunting on DU lands in South Dakota

Public hunting on DU lands in South Dakota

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.

Bayer CropScience recognized for winter wheat program contributions

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

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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