Delivering Conservation in the Great Plains for Continental Waterfowl
Summer 2018
A Note From the Great Plains Region Directors
Despite the cool spring in the Great Plains Region, and an extended migration period, ducks and geese arrived on the breeding grounds in good shape. Where there is available water, Ducks Unlimited biologists are seeing nice broods of ducklings across the landscape.

Throughout much of the Prairie Pothole Region, conditions are dry to very dry. Late spring snowfall and timely rains in parts of the Dakotas and Montana have improved the waterfowl production outlook. Additional rainfall is needed across the region to improve or sustain wetland habitats for breeding waterfowl and broods. We are seeing similar conditions across prairie Canada.
Around the Region
Colorado - New Laws Ensure Future Colorado Conservation
In the presence of Ducks Unlimited representatives and other wildlife advocates, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed two bills into law that will mean more funds for conservation projects. One bill extends the Colorado lottery that provides funds for a major source of habitat project dollars, Great Outdoor Colorado. The other piece of legislation increases revenue for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), including an increase to the state waterfowl stamp by 5 dollars. These funds are critical for CPW and conservation work in the state. 
Colorado - DU and Partners Facilitate Telluride Bluegrass Purchase of Carbon Offsets From Colorado Ranch
Telluride’s Planet Bluegrass is about to go a little greener. Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the Pinhead Climate Institute (PCI) announce a bulk sale of verified Colorado-based agricultural carbon offsets to Planet Bluegrass that will neutralize a significant portion of the carbon emissions generated during the 45th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 21-24. Planet Bluegrass is already one of Telluride’s, and perhaps the nation’s, most environmentally aware festivals, and this step will bring their “greening” efforts closer to home.
Kansas - Restoration at McPhearson Valley Wetlands Rebuilds Migration Habitat 
Ducks Unlimited and its partner the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) restored 90 acres of wetlands on McPherson Valley Wetlands Wildlife Area (WA) in McPherson County, Kansas. Historically the wetlands were part of a large depression that covered the region and provided rich waterfowl habitat. Over time, this landscape was modified through land leveling and ditching to enhance cropping potential.
Montana - Montana Conservation Leader Recognized
Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2018 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 83rd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Norfolk, Virginia. This year’s recipient in the federal agency employee category is Jim Stutzman, former habitat delivery specialist for the Intermountain West Joint Venture.
Montana - Freezeout Lake Waterfowl Workshop Brings Together Conservation Partners
Adam McDaniel, Ducks Unlimited conservation specialist and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partner biologist, organized a recent waterfowl workshop for NRCS, Pheasants Forever, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) employees. The workshop was hosted by MFWP at Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area near Fairfield, Montana. Participants learned to identify more than 50 species of birds, with emphasis on wetland-dependent waterfowl, shorebirds and wading birds. The group then searched for duck nests to identify the species and age of the eggs. Instructors demonstrated how different duck species use different plant species for nesting cover.
Nebraska - Ducks Unlimited’s 25 plus Years Of Habitat Success Stories in Nebraska
Without the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET), Ducks Unlimited would have completed a mere fraction of the 312 projects on more than 107,000 acres it has protected, restored or enhanced in Nebraska.

"NET funding was part of more than 90 percent of Nebraska DU projects," said John Denton, DU manager of conservation for Nebraska. "We encourage Nebraskans to support this vitally important conservation partner."
North Dakota - Scheels Supports Prairie Waterfowl
Scheels has long partnered with outdoor and conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited. This support helps improve the lives of Scheels’ customers and employees and is a natural fit for one the country’s most successful sporting goods companies.
North Dakota - Junior Duck Stamp Competition in Bismarck
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service brought the Junior Duck Stamp competition to Bismarck this year. The judging was held in April at the North Dakota Heritage Center. The judging panel included multi-Duck Stamp contest winner Robert Hautman who was also recently featured in a DU Film. Rayen Kang, an 18-year-old artist from Johns Creek, Georgia won with her painting of an emperor goose. The North Dakota Game and Fish produced a video about the competition.
South Dakota - DU and NRCS Launch New Partnership
Ducks Unlimited has received two Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) awards from the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. The grants will fund the first round of projects that will help landowners improve soil health, restore and enhance grasslands and conserve wetlands. In this round, 20 projects in the James River Lowlands ecosystem will receive $750,000, while $350,000 will go to nine projects that support the Preserve our Prairies initiative.
Wyoming - Fencing Project at Pathfinder NWR Will Improve Wetland Habitat
Ducks Unlimited and its partner the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) completed installation of more than seven miles of wildlife-friendly, barbed wire fence to protect wetlands on Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The refuge is in Natrona County, Wyoming and during the past decade the wetlands around Steamboat Lake were heavily grazed by trespassing cattle.
Summer Research Crews Wrap-up Field Season
Research crews are now conducting brood surveys and analyzing nesting data they collected throughout the summer. Catch up with the Great Plains Research Team on Facebook , Twitter and the Real Duck Tails blog .

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department produced a video about the Ducks Unlimited and University of North Dakota collaboration on duck nesting research. You can also view clips from the nest cameras and observe hatchlings and predators.
The Great Plains Region Communications Intern Rachel Krueger has been working on improving the social media presence of the GPR’s work. She registered the Great Plains Region on Instagram @dugreatplains and started a Meet Me Monday series. This series introduces the GPR staff and what they do. Rachel has also been posting photos of ongoing research and other Great Plains images. You can also link up with the Great Plains on Facebook and Twitter.
Doug Lipetzky - Retirement, Director of Engineering Services Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, Bismarck, North Dakota

Doug Lipetzky, director of engineering services for Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Region (GLAR), has announced he will retire on November 30. In 1987, Doug was recruited by his friend, Roger Smith, now DU’s Great Plains Region (GPR) director of engineering, to join the then small GPR staff in Bismarck, North Dakota.

"From the beginning, Doug’s professionalism, technical and organizational skills set a precedence for DU’s quality engineering services," Smith said. "During his time with DU, Doug has influenced the culture of hard work, integrity and character that defines DU’s engineering services."

While working for the Great Plains Region, he guided hundreds of projects in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa (when the GPR included Minnesota and Iowa). Though he still works out of the Bismarck office, Doug has been directing engineering in GLAR’s 21 states since 2012.

"He has influenced DU’s engineering standards across the country and been a leader in his field. His dedication is represented in the long list of DU projects he has worked on and his presence will be missed," Smith added.

Doug’s retirement plans are tentative, but he and his wife, Sharon plan to seek a warmer climate when the snow starts to fly in Bismarck.
Michelle Duncan - Administrative Assistant, Fort Collins, Colorado
Michelle is supporting the GPR staff in Fort Collins as well as development staff in Denver and Bozeman, Montana. Michelle previously worked as a legal and administrative assistant in Northern Colorado. Her knowledge, experience and professionalism will work well with the staff in these offices. 
Rachel Krueger - Communications Intern, Bismarck, North Dakota

Rachel Krueger is a public relations student at the University of Mary and has been working as a communications intern in Bismarck since May. She comes to North Dakota from Colorado, where developed an appreciation for nature and wildlife conservation. She hopes to go into wildlife education and outreach.
Gratten Allen - Agronomist, Webster,
South Dakota

Gratten Allen was hired as the GPR’s newest agronomist in South Dakota. He is stationed in Webster and will be working in the northeast part of the state on DU’s soil health program focusing on the Bitter Lake watershed. Gratten is from Sikeston, Missouri and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in agri-business. He previously worked in Missouri as an Agronomist and has a background in soil health. The goal of Gratten’s work in South Dakota is to create new projects for DU in cooperation with producers who practice no-till and are interested in spring-emerging cover crops and implementing beneficial grazing techniques.
Andrew Schmidt - Manager of Agriculture Policy, Washington D.C.

Andrew Schmidt joined the DU policy team replacing the manager of agriculture policy position vacated by Eric Lindstrom. Andrew comes to DU from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, where he was the agriculture policy program manager, leading the Association’s Farm Bill and agriculture policy work. He is stationed in Washington D.C. and will help lead DU’s work on the Farm Bill, working closely with regional and national policy and conservation staff to develop and advocate for priority issues in the bill. He will also be representing DU on Capitol Hill, with the Administration and with coalition partners in the conservation and agriculture communities.
Regional Events
August 16-19 - Band a Duck Catch a Trout donor event, Montana. Contact Chris Hildebrandt or Bob Sanders.
August 17 - North Youth Waterfowl Hunting Workshop, Bismarck, North Dakota. Contact Jennifer Kross .
Other Regions
See what is going on around the country in the other Ducks Unlimited regions. Check out their e-newsletters.
Western Region, Western Region Blog
Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Office
2525 River Road
Bismarck, North Dakota USA 58503