Whiting Petroleum Corporation recently contributed $100,000 to Ducks Unlimited to restore wetlands on the western edge of North Dakota's Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). These 16 wetlands, which are surrounded by large expanses of privately owned grasslands and span 46 acres in five North Dakota counties, will provide excellent breeding habitat for a variety of duck species.

Whiting CEO Jim Volker, an avid duck and upland bird hunter, said his company wants to help conserve grasslands and wetlands for outdoor enthusiasts, both now and for future generations. "Whiting wants to give back to North Dakota in a way that will improve and protect the state's already wonderful habitat," Volker said.

DU Director of Development Kirk Davidson presented Volker with a DU Benefactor plaque and a fluorescent orange cap to wear while hunting. "I want the cap to remind him of all the upland and wetland acres Whiting is helping us conserve," Davidson said.

In recent years, in the Dakotas and Montana, oil and gas exploration has begun to impact parts of the PPR. "We're glad the petroleum industry is interested in being involved in conservation," said Jim Ringelman, director of conservation programs in the PPR. "DU needs many partners to keep this area producing America's waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife."

In a year like 2011, 70 percent of the continent's breeding ducks are raised in the PPR.