Delivering Conservation in the Great Plains for Continental Waterfowl
Spring/Summer 2019
A Note From the Great Plains Region Directors
By Great Plains Managing Director of Development Eric Lindstrom

Spring is marked by the spectacle and sounds of migrating ducks, geese, cranes, and swans as they make their annual flight across the region. The arrival of spring also helps recharge our batteries as busy conservation, fundraising, and policy professionals and reminds us of how important DU’s work is on the ground.

After a relatively dry fall and early winter, late winter snow storms and heavy rains have set the table for improved spring migration and breeding habitat conditions. The Great Plains includes important stop over and breeding areas for millions of waterfowl. Migrating birds pass through the Neck of the Hour Glass, that includes the Rainwater Basin and Platte River regions, in route to northern breeding grounds. Prairie wetlands thaw and begin teaming with life as waterfowl breeding pairs settle on them across the vast and productive landscape. These small prairie wetlands are the engine that drives continental waterfowl populations.

Around DU
Meet Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam
Ducks Unlimited (DU) announced the hiring of Adam H. Putnam as their new CEO effective April 1.

"I joined Ducks Unlimited when I was 16 and have a lifelong appreciation of the conservation work the organization accomplishes," Putnam said. "It's humbling to be chosen as DU's CEO, and as a lifelong hunter, angler and conservationist, I look forward to building on our record of success."

DU's current CEO, Dale Hall, will remain in place to help with the transition until his retirement on June 30. 
See the "New Guy" in some fun videos
Also see Adam's introduction on the all employee broadcast (must be a DU employee to view).
Around the Region
Interactive project maps
Interactive project maps provide descriptions of DU conservation activities in the state. Maps for Nebraska and South Dakota are currently available. The Great Plains GIS staff are developing maps for all the states in the region. Stay tuned for these to be posted on the state webpages.

Explore the maps in Nebraska and South Dakota.
Colorado - Denver Sponsor Gala delivers for the ducks
Ducks Unlimited’s strength in converting dollars to conserved wetlands is unrivaled. At the heart of the organization’s fundraising efforts are its volunteers and the highly successful events they host in communities nationwide. The Denver, Colorado, chapter has risen to the top of this list with its annual Denver Sponsor Gala, which has been the highest-grossing DU event in the country for the past three years.
Kansas - DU helping KDWPT restore Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
Ducks Unlimited and its partners launched an ambitious two-year fundraising campaign to renovate Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest inland wetland in the United States. The almost 20,000-acre public wildlife area, owned by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), is a wetland area of international importance for migratory birds and an economic boost for central Kansas.
Montana - Helena DU chapter license auction raises $37,000 for moose habitat
What’s good for the moose is good for the gander. The proceeds of this year’s Ducks Unlimited Shiras moose auction will contribute $37,000 for Montana’s moose habitat conservation initiative, which also benefits ducks and other wildlife. The winning bid was the second highest since Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks began allowing organizations, like DU, to host the auctions.
Nebraska - Nebraska Environmental Trust grants help fund projects across state
One of the continent’s most important landscapes for migrating waterfowl will receive much-needed habitat work, thanks to Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) grants. NET has awarded $429,000 in three grants to help fund Ducks Unlimited habitat restoration projects across the state.
North Dakota -  More dollars available for DU's North Dakota soil health program
After successfully completing its pilot year, Ducks Unlimited’s Cover Crop and Livestock Integration Project (CCLIP) is moving into phase two, expanding the project from a few counties in southeast North Dakota to landowners in the 37 counties that encompass the Prairie Pothole Region in the state. The North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) recently funded the project by awarding DU and partners a $1.25 million grant.
South Dakota - South Dakota program protects for generations
The Revolving Habitat Strategy (RHS) is an important component of DU’s conservation efforts in South Dakota. During the fiscal year 2018, DU acquired five properties from willing sellers, totaling more than 1,400 acres. The RHS is a unique conservation tool that DU uses to focus in on vulnerable habitats in the Prairie Pothole Region. With this program, DU identifies properties that are for sale and offers landowners the opportunity to protect and restore priority waterfowl habitat. The properties are the best of the best in terms of the potential to protect and restore important waterfowl breeding habitat.
Wyoming - Ducks Unlimited partners with Laramie on Monolith Ranch restoration
The Monolith Ranch was acquired by the City of Laramie in the early 1980s as a long-term investment to secure additional water. The 11,788-acre ranch is south of Laramie and contains a 2,000-acre parcel known as the Monolith Ranch Meadows, composed of irrigated meadows and pasture. In 2016, the Laramie Ranch Advisory Committee asked Ducks Unlimited to assist them with a restoration project on the Monolith Ranch Meadows that focused on repairing the dilapidated Goforth Reservoir Dam.
Update by Great Plains Director of Public Policy Carmen Miller

Eight volunteers from Kansas, South Dakota, and Colorado attended the second annual D.C. State Chair Fly-in in January. The group had more than 15 meetings on Capitol Hill with offices from around the region. Several visits were with newly elected members of Congress, including Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Representative Sherrice Davids (D-KS), introducing new policymakers to Ducks Unlimited’s work in the Great Plains Region.

Legislative sessions in all seven states in the GPR kept regional staff and volunteers busy.
Real Duck Tails and research crew social media links
Great Plains research crews are now in the field collecting data. They have been posting videos of their adventures and exciting finds on the prairie. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Nebraska - Flint Hills Resources caps Rescue Our Wetlands campaign by exceeding $1M in giving
When science suggested that Ducks Unlimited begin delivering conservation projects south of the Canadian border, Flint Hills Resources was one of the first companies to engage with the organization’s mission. For more than 30 years, the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota, has partnered with DU to underwrite the state’s raffle and sponsor programs for local fundraising events. The income generated through these programs is among the organization’s most flexible sources of funding, which is used to conserve the continent’s highest-priority landscapes for waterfowl.
Colorado - Ducks Unlimited recognizes top earning Colorado chapters
Ducks Unlimited recently announced the top volunteer chapters across the nation honored in three categories: Chairman’s Elite, Chairman’s Roll of Honor, President’s Elite and President’s Roll of Honor.
South Dakota - South Dakota Ducks Unlimited gun raffle calendar for 2019-2020 on sale
The calendars are $50 and feature monthly artwork by South Dakota artists. Calendar purchase also includes a Ducks Unlimited membership. The first drawing is July 3, 2019 and the last drawing is June 24, 2020.
Staff Highlights
DU Kansas manager named Conservation Champion
Ducks Unlimited Special Projects Manager Joe Kramer is the winner of the 2019 Kansas Conservation Champion Award. Seven Kansas natural resources societies recognized Kramer at the Kansas Natural Resources Conference. Joe worked with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) for 35 years. He served as chief of the Wildlife and Fisheries Division for 26 years, working with federal agencies through numerous federal farm bills and conservation programs. When Joe retired, he began managing projects for Ducks Unlimited and is a wetland coordinator for the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS).
Staff Additions
Ryan Taylor – Director Public Policy, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana
Ryan Taylor is a fourth-generation rancher from Towner, North Dakota, a published author, a former policy maker and an advocate for rural people and rural places. Taylor joined Ducks Unlimited as public policy director for North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. Ryan will focus on leading and developing DU’s policy program to support DU’s highest priorities in these states.

His experience includes serving as a North Dakota State Senator for three terms, one of which he served as senate minority leader. Taylor also served as state director for the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Rural Development, leading $590 million in program investments and loans to improve the quality of life in rural North Dakota.
Boyan “Paul” Liu - GIS Specialist
Paul is from Canada, with roots in Taiwan. He finished a master's degree at the University of Guelph last year in the Department of Integrative Biology. His thesis focused on population trends of boreal woodland caribou in Ontario using spatial models. Paul is stationed at the Great Plains Region office in Bismarck, North Dakota and is working on various projects using GIS (Geographical Information System), such as mapping and matching aerial pictures to locations and data analysis projects involving radar and nest searching. He has an affinity for wild places and enjoys hiking and birdwatching.  
Kyle Kuechle – Wetland Research Scientist
Kyle started at the Great Plains Region office in Bismarck, North Dakota in early May and has been coordinating with the science team to prepare for the summer research season. He earned a master’s degree in natural resources from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Bemidji State University. His master’s work examined the effects of agricultural pesticides on wetland food webs with a focus on impacts to aquatic invertebrates. Kyle’s position with DU will include research that is useful in informing wetland conservation in a landscape increasingly impacted by human activity.
Robert Ford – Biologist
Robert Ford joined DU as a biologist in Devils Lake. He is working with landowners and public partners to promote conservation programs in the Devils Lake region. Ford will help producers evaluate their operations to find programs that will fit with their operations and develop plans to implement those programs.

Ford grew up in Michigan and has worked for several state agencies, most recently with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF). While at NDGF, his experience conserving wetland and grassland ecosystems provided him with the drive to continue his career in North Dakota focusing on prairie conservation. Ford is joined in Devils Lake by his wife, Scerria, and their four children, ages 10, 6, and two-year-old twins.
Sean Stone – Senior Director of Development for Colorado and Kansas
Sean Stone joined the Great Plains Development Team in April. To facilitate a smooth transition, Sean is working closely with Kirk Davidson to make donor connections and learn job specifics in Colorado and Kansas until Kirk’s retirement at the end of August.

Sean served Ducks Unlimited as a regional director in California and a director of development in Texas. He has a proven fundraising record and strong understanding of DU’s conservation mission, organizational structure, and volunteer and supporter base.

Sean has held key leadership positions with several for-profit and non-profit organizations. Most recently, Sean was the executive director for the Coastal Conservation Association Habitat Program, where he helped greatly expand their development and fundraising operations. He and his family will relocate to the Denver area. 
Kalli Wegren – Engineer
Kalli Wegren joined the engineering team in Fort Collins in May. She previously worked for Kimley-Horn in Phoenix, Arizona where she focused on water resources and roadway drainage. She graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in civil engineering and brings with her a knowledge of water resource design, hydraulic analyses, Civil 3D design and other skills that will benefit DU’s mission. Kalli is a Certified Flood Plain Manager and has passed her professional engineering exam. She has a strong family history of waterfowl conservation and was a DU Greenwing in her youth. Kalli will be responsible for project deliveries in Colorado, Wyoming, and western Nebraska.
Denise Barrett - Director of Foundation Relations for the Great Plains and Western Regions
Denise Barrett became director of foundation relations for the Great Plains and Western Regions in March. She has a strong background in development and most recently served as the chief advancement officer at Frontier Nursing University near Lexington, Kentucky. Here she led a team of seven in fundraising, alumni relations, external affairs, and grant management. Denise has expertise in grant writing and grant management. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.

Denise is working from her home office in Durango, Colorado. She is familiar with Ducks Unlimited’s mission and her talents will be an asset to the DU development team and foundation and corporate relations work.
Communications Intern
Joseph Bump will be working with the GPR communications team in Bismarck for the summer. Joseph is originally from California and graduated from the University of Mary this May. He majored in business communications and has experience creating marketing and advertising materials. This summer, Joseph will be managing the GPR’s social media accounts, writing press releases, and posting to the website among other communication duties. 
Region Events
All Staff Meeting
  • Bismarck, North Dakota - July 29-August 2
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop
  • Bismarck, North Dakota – August 16
Other Regions
See what is going on around the country in the other Ducks Unlimited regions. Check out their e-newsletters.
Western Region Blog
Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Office
2525 River Road
Bismarck, North Dakota USA 58503