USF&W seeks to conserve grassland habitatNORTH DAKOTA — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting to conserve approximately 29.6 million acres of grasslands and wetlands, and the endangered migratory birds found in the Prairie Pothole Region of eastern North Dakota and South Dakota.
By: By Emma Murray, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
NORTH DAKOTA — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting to conserve approximately 29.6 million acres of grasslands and wetlands, and the endangered migratory birds found in the Prairie Pothole Region of eastern North Dakota and South Dakota.
With the help of private land owners the Service is working to accelerate the conservation of what would become the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area. Through conservation easement contracts, private land owners would agree to preserve the natural topography and wildlife habitat.
On Wednesday, the Service released the first draft of its Environmental Assessment and Land Protection Plan for the proposed Dakota Grassland Conservation Area.
Lloyd Jones, a wildlife refuge manager in Coleharbor, N.D. said there has been a strong show of support since December 2010 when information about the proposal was first released and public scoping was done.
“We received almost 2,000 comments when we initially released information about the project from landowners and the public, mostly in support of the project,” he said.
This Tuesday in Bismarck and Wednesday in Miller, S.D. the public will get another chance to learn more about the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area proposal as well as provide feedback on the topic.
“The meeting is an opportunity to explain the Environmental As-sessment and Land Protection Plan,” Jones said. “What we hope to do is answer questions and solicit input in support or in making adjustments to the draft.”
Director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Terry Steinwand, said conserving the grasslands and wetlands is essential for the region’s wildlife.
“The conservation of the grasslands and wetlands will provide a better habitat for wildlife,” he said.
Emma Murray is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.