My first job after college–well almost–was with Ducks Unlimited as a private lands biologist in the Stanley-Kenmare area NW of Minot. I loved the people, the area and most of all working with the farmers, ranchers and landowners. Some of my life long memories are working with the people of the area. Helping farmers like Meyer Kinnoin, Dale Larson, Dale Brewster to name just a few, find conservation programs for a win-win the landowners and wildlife. So with the establishment of two new Ducks Unlimited biologists I’m a bit nostalgic and envious in the same mindset.
DU Conservation Program Biologists help find conservation solutions
BISMARCK, ND, January 21, 2010 – It’s all about win-win solutions, say North Dakota’s two new Ducks Unlimited Conservation Program Biologists. Krista Reiser and Heather Shaw are working with landowners in the state’s Missouri Coteau area to find conservation solutions that protect and/or restore natural resources while improving a landowner’s operation.
Shaw assists farmers and ranchers in Logan, McIntosh and Emmons Counties. She says the goal of the program biologists is to help landowners find the right fit of conservation programs offered by different agencies and organizations.
“I am only going to recommend programs that, based on talking with the farmer and rancher, I think will meet the needs of their operation,” said Reiser, who works with landowners in Burleigh, Kidder and Sheridan Counties.
Reiser says the DU Conservation Program Biologists are a “go-to” person for conservation programs so landowners don’t have to go from one agency to the next. “We want them to know there’s one contact person who can point them in the right direction,” she said.
“The goal of each of these programs is to enhance and protect natural resources and several of them offer diverse options for improving wildlife habitat,” Shaw said. “Our goal is to find middle ground between enhancing a producers operation and improving and protecting key habitat in the process.”
The positions were created through a partnership with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
“All of the partners share a common interest in conservation and providing landowners with a service that helps them understand the various programs and opportunities that are available,” says Kevin Kading, private lands coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish. “It can get a bit overwhelming to try and stay on top of all the programs out there, so having a Conservation Program Biologist dedicated to these programs means a lot to the private landowner.”
“The current Farm Bill with USDA has a multitude of programs to help farmers with wildlife needs, such as CRP, WHIP, WRP and EQIP,” said Mike Collins, with NRCS. “We hope this partnership will help landowners see the benefit of these programs in helping with conservation on private lands.”
Shaw just moved from Michigan and has a degree in wildlife biology and management from Central Michigan University. She lives in Napoleon and works out of the NRCS office.
Reiser, a North Dakota native, brings to the job a North Dakota State University degree in range science and soils. She has an office with NRCS in McClusky and ranches nearby with her husband Jay.
The DU Conservation Program Biologists are focusing their work in the Missouri Coteau because it offers continentally important habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. “The Coteau is also a key agricultural area,” Shaw said. “I feel confident we will successfully achieve our goals for conserving vital waterfowl habitat here by working together with our producers. It is a win-win situation.”
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.