Delivering Conservation in the Great Plains for Continental Waterfowl
Spring 2018
After a long, cold winter across much of the Great Plains, the signs of spring are a welcome sight! Canada and snow geese are making their way up the Missouri River in the Dakotas and ducks are stacking up in the Rainwater Basin and Cheyenne Bottoms.

Thus far, the Prairie Pothole breeding grounds are short on moisture with most areas running below normal in snow fall amounts. The exceptions containing higher snow amounts are the Montana Hi-Line and Alberta Parklands. Although it is a healthy process for wetlands to dry out periodically so they can recycle nutrients and sprout new lush vegetation, prairie droughts can be hard on waterfowl and sportspeople alike. Time will tell how long this current drought will last.
Around the Region
Colorado - DU Staff Featured in Colorado Parks and Wildlife Live Video
Ducks Unlimited Engineer Kevin Warner and DU Biologist Matt Reddy were featured in a Facebook Live video event discussing the importance of Prewitt Reservoir and describing the restoration work taking place. The video was hosted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and featured other partners including Colorado Open Lands and Great Outdoors Colorado.

The three-year project began last winter. The goal is to enhance more than 450 acres of habitat, including cattail-choked marshes below the reservoir’s dam and wetlands near its shore.
Kansas - Eight Families Help Restore 1,660 Acres on Neosho Wildlife Area
The conservation vision of a few sportsmen was instrumental in one of Ducks Unlimited’s largest Kansas projects. DU worked with the KDWPT and other partners to restore and enhance 1,660 acres on Neosho Wildlife Area, providing habitat for wildlife and outdoor recreation.
Montana - DU Moose License Auction Raises Money for Habitat Conservation
Montana’s moose habitat conservation initiative will get a boost, thanks to the winning bid of $30,000 at the Helena Ducks Unlimited event on March 3rd. The Helena chapter auctioned the rare Shiras moose license during its annual dinner. Proceeds from the license sale will go to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ moose program.
Nebraska - Ducks Unlimited Chapter Doubly Blessed by Nebraska Cargill Plant
Employees at the Cargill Blair plant in Nebraska are doubling down on their Ducks Unlimited contributions. Cargill provides its staff a 50 percent match for charitable donations, up to $1,000 per year. Many Blair plant staff are using it to increase their gifts to Ducks Unlimited, including eight who have become major sponsors, a contribution over $10,000.
North Dakota - Grasslands Enhancement Project Shares Costs with Landowners
DU supports grazing on N.D. school and public lands
Rotating cattle through multiple pastures provides many benefits to people and wildlife. Benefits from rotational grazing practices include improved soil health, plant diversity, drought tolerance and water quality. However, transitioning to a rotational grazing system can be expensive. Ducks Unlimited and North Dakota Natural Resources Trust (NDNRT) will share the cost of water, fencing and power for people who lease state school trust and public lands.
North Dakota - Cairn Rescue at DU’s First United States Project Site
In 1984, Ducks Unlimited chose Arena Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for its first cooperative waterfowl habitat enhancement project in the United States. A cairn with a memorial plaque was placed on the site on October 3, 1985. The structure stood until 2014 when time, waves and high water eroded the ground beneath it and the concrete structure fell into the lake. To honor the history of DU's first efforts in the U.S., on March 21 a three-person team from the engineering department at the Great Plains Office traveled to the site, west of Wing, North Dakota, to reclaim the cairn and place it in a safer spot.
South Dakota - Soil Health Program Offers Landowner Incentives and Conservation Options
Agricultural producers in eastern South Dakota can get financial assistance for a variety of conservation practices focusing on improving soil health. Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other partners developed the project under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) aimed at improving soil health, wildlife habitat and landscape productivity. RCPP provides landowners with financial assistance for incorporating regenerative farming practices, improving wildlife habitat, and diversifying crop rotations and landscape use.
Wyoming - South Park Conservation Day Field Experience
Ducks Unlimited held a special project kick-off event at South Park Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) for Jackson Hole DU supporters. The goal of the event was to increase awareness and funding for the Peaks to Prairies Initiative, which includes the Rocky Mountain range in Wyoming, Montana and Colorado.
South Dakota and GPR Fundraising Tops in Nation
The Great Plains Region fundraising team and volunteers worked diligently this past year. The region has four state campaign committees in the top 10 for fundraising in the country. South Dakota is number one reaching this achievement under the leadership of Chairman Maynard C. Isaacson. South Dakota DU grew annual participation by 13 percent for a total of 73 percent, received more than $1 million in cash and new commitments all while surpassing their Life Sponsor, upgrade and Feather Society goals.
Based on all categories and points achieved, please congratulate 2017 State Campaign Committees from the Great Plains.
  • #1 South Dakota
  • #4 Nebraska
  • #7 Montana
  • #10 North Dakota

Also see the top chapters in the nation who reached fundraising status in four categories: Chairman’s Elite, Chairman’s Roll of Honor, President’s Elite and President’s Roll of Honor.
Deb Knudson - Retirement
Great Lakes Atlantic Region Sr. Engineering Tech and CAD Specialist, Deb Knudson will retire in May. Although officially working for GLAR, Deb has been a part of the Great Plains Office since 2000. She has been an immense help to Roger Smith and Doug Lipetzky with drafting and C3d operation. Deb is an extremely valuable member of the engineering team and will be missed for her expertise and daily help. She has left a positive stamp on the landscape in many different states during the 17½ years she has been a part of the DU Team. She is always willing to tackle any drafting issues given to her. We wish Deb and her husband, Bruce the best as they pursue their retirement path forward. Thanks for everything, Deb!
Sam Krohn – Mitigation Technician
Sam Krohn is the new mitigation technician at the Great Plains office in Bismarck. He is working with Justin Williams and Trent Hieb to monitor restoration sites in the Dakotas. He is also conducting GIS work for the monitoring reports and analyzing potential new restoration sites. 

Sam is from Ironwood, Michigan where he grew up on a farm. His previous experience includes working as a general laborer for an energy service company in Dickenson, N.D. Sam also worked with Mason Sieges and Kaylan Carrlson for two summers with the University of North Dakota nest camera project on the Coteau Ranch. He recently graduated from UND with a bachelor of science in wildlife biology.
Award Winning Staff
Pheasants Forever awarded Manager of Conservation Programs for Kansas Matt Hough with its Kansas Partnership Award.
In Custer, South Dakota the Ducks Unlimited flag is one of 20 flags that hang above the street downtown. Mayor Corbin Herman proclaimed Saturday, March 24, as Ducks Unlimited Day in honor of the banquet being held that day. The DU staff in South Dakota made an impression on the mayor in 2014/2015 when they offered technical assistance to help the city with a wetland project on the edge of town and repair washed out dam. This project never came to fruition, but the impact of DU’s offer made a positive impact.
Regional Events
April 27-29 - Nebraska State Convention, Grand Island, Nebraska, contact Steve Wilson or Pat Baughman
Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Office
2525 River Road
Bismarck, North Dakota USA 58503