Tag Archives: Habitat

Results in from 2012 WCSIA variety trials

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BISMARCK, N.D. – This year’s winter wheat variety trials show that early summer heat may have done more good than harm for this year’s crop in North Dakota and South Dakota. According to Ducks Unlimited Agronomist Steve Dvorak, abnormally warm temperatures in June and July did suppress some winter wheat yield in the 2012 Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action test plots, but yields were still well above average.

“The results suggest the early heat stress did more to help with protein deposition than it did to limit yields,” Dvorak said. “The combination of high yields and protein also suggests that more nitrogen was mineralized from soil organic matter than is typical.”

Dvorak explained that the increased nitrogen availability was likely due to a combination of the relatively warm soil temperatures through the winter months, the early breaking of spring and the continued above-normal temperatures extending throughout the summer.

“With the heat, early varieties generally out-performed later varieties in all areas, except the extreme northeastern part of North Dakota,” he said.

The winter wheat plots also had very little disease pressure this year from tan spot or head scab. “Varieties with good ‘disease packages’ were not as dominant as they have been the last few years,” Dvorak said. “However some varieties, such as CDC Falcon, that normally have not been as competitive because of susceptibility to disease, had resurgence in performance this year.”

More test plot information available at wintercereals.us.

About Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action
With a shared vision of sustaining cereals agriculture, Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action is a unique collaboration between Ducks Unlimited, Bayer CropScience, regional universities and Winfield Solutions. It embraces ongoing improvement of agriculture productivity through research and development in the Prairie Pothole Region, while improving the habitat important to North America’s waterfowl and other wildlife.

For more information on WCSIA, visit www.wintercereals.us.

About Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 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. For more information on our work, visitwww.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos atyoutube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.

CRP turns 25 years old. But how will it look at 30?

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The Conservation Reserve Program turns 25 this year. While there is much to laud about this conservation program that has benefitted ground-nesting birds and other wildlife while safeguarding millions of acres of marginal cropland, it’s a bittersweet celebration.

Though North Dakota gained nearly 132,000 new CRP acres in a March-April signup, contracts involving about 387,000 acres will expire by fall, leaving the state 1 million acres poorer since 2007, when more than 3 million acres blanketed the landscape.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program was signed into law in 1985 to reduce grain surpluses to jumpstart commodity prices, and decrease erosion on marginal croplands. Lands enrolled in CRP are planted in grass and left mostly undisturbed for 10 years or more with periodic management, such has haying or grazing. Landowners receive rental payments and cost-share assistance to participate in the voluntary program.

“CRP pretty much did what it was supposed to do,” according to Greg Link, assistant chief of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s wildlife division. “Commodity prices gradually improved and soil erosion decreased. We knew it would benefit wildlife if enough landowners enrolled enough acres. As wildlife populations flourished, interest from hunters grew. If anything, the program probably exceeded expectations.”

CRP was at its peak in North Dakota in 2007 when the state had 3.4 million acres of mostly idle grassland. A reduced nationwide cap, cut from 39 million acres to 32 million acres in the 2008 Farm Bill, along with other factors like high commodity prices, high cash rents, and demands for more cropland for food and fuel production, have slowly reduced interest in the program in North Dakota and elsewhere.

With deliberations already underway on a new farm bill, feedback points to an even lower nationwide CRP cap in the future. Once a staple on North Dakota’s landscape, some projections indicate the state will have fewer than 1 million acres by the end of 2013. If that happens, ground-nesting pheasant and duck populations will be hit the hardest.

In the future, Link said, finding places to hunt and finding game to pursue will be much more difficult. As a result, the number of resident and nonresident hunters most likely will decline.

“Unless something changes, the future for the program is not bright,” Link said. “It’s not just the loss of wildlife habitat, but CRP is a major ingredient in the department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program, and that will likely shrink because there is no way to have the same quality habitat and the same amount of habitat available without CRP.”

CRP signup

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Information to share from the Farm Service Agency regarding the
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the new Voluntary Public Access and
Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP)

FSA has announced a general signup will be held from August 2-27. This is
the first general signup since 2006. Eligible producers include current CRP
participants with contracts expiring on September 30, 2010 (4.5 million
acres). A couple of fact sheets on the signup are attached, one of which
includes a summary of the Environmental Benefits Index that will be used to
rank offers. The CRP interim rule addressing changes made by the 2008 Farm
Bill is also attached. You can access the Final Supplemental EIS developed
for these changes to CRP at
FSA has also revised the CRP Handbook to reflect changes in the rule and
provide specifics as to how these changes will be implemented. To see the
revisions in 2-CRP (Revision 5) you can go to:

(See attached file: crp_ebi39_072010.pdf)(See attached file: 2010 CRP fact

Notices are attached on preparation for the signup (CRP-672) and how the new
exclusion from the 25% county cap for continuous CRP will work (CRP-672).
Links to all of the CRP notices referenced in CRP 672 can be found at
http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/notices. Please note that according to CRP-672,
FSA State Conservation Program Specialists are required to work with FWS and
state fish and wildlife agency officials to develop job sheets by practice
for inclusion in the final conservation plan.


FSA is requesting assistance from all their conservation partners to get the
word out on the signup and to help target high priority areas for fish and

The Farm Bill provided $50 million through 2012 for a competitive grants
program available to states and tribes to encourage public access on private
lands for purposes of wildlife dependent recreation, including hunting and
fishing, and other compatible recreation activities, such as wildlife
observation, photography, and environmental education and interpretation.
FSA has published an interim rule and fact sheet for the program (attached).
States and tribes have until August 23 to submit grant applications for the
$16.7 million available in grants for FY 2010.
Another $16.7 million will be available for each of the next two fiscal
years. Additional information is available at:

(See attached file: vpa_hip_factsht.pdf)(See attached file:

Biomass Crop Assistance Program
FSA has published a Final Programmatic EIS on the program and a final rule
is expected soon which would allow implementation of the biomass crop
establishment portion of the program under the targeted implementation
alternative. The link to the EIS is the same as above for the CRP
Supplemental EIS

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Dave Walker
Farm Conservation Programs Coordinator
Division of Habitat and Resource Conservation U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop 770
Arlington, VA 22203

Phone: 703-358-2310
Fax: 703-358-2232
E-mail: dave_walker@fws.gov


education for educators

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Some of my co-workers and I discuss reaching the next generation of hunters and anglers. Not just facebook and Twitter. From hands on to multi-media there is no one way to educate, inform and recruit for the future of not just hunting and fishing, but also the importance of conservation in North Dakota. One of those methods is teaching the teachers:

Teachers, environmental educators and anyone else who works with youth are invited to attend a wildlife conservation and resource management workshop June 30 and July 1 in Bismarck.
“A Visual Arts Approach to Teaching Life Science” will be held at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck. Teachers completing the course will have a basis for teaching ecological concepts and environmental stewardship through visual arts. The North Dakota Studies Habitats curriculum will be used.
The workshop is fast-paced and offers a hands-on approach educators can use in their classrooms and field trips, and in discussing classroom and curriculum integration. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to experiment with different visual arts including clay, water media, pastel and colored pencil. No previous art experience is necessary or required, and all supplies are provided.
Workshop instructors are Sherry Niesar, a volunteer wildlife educator with Game and Fish for more than 25 years, and Paul Noot, a visual arts teacher at Bismarck High School, Sleepy Hollow Summer Arts program and Theo Art School.
A $35 registration fee is required by June 29. Graduate credit is available through the University of North Dakota. To register, call (701) 527-3714 or e-mail sniesar@nd.gov.


admin notes from the outdoors world

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Habitats Workshop Scheduled in Valley City

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the Valley City Area Teacher Center are sponsoring a wildlife conservation and resource management workshop for teachers, environmental educators and anyone else who works with youth.

“North Dakota Habitats” is scheduled June 1-2 at the Valley City Area Teacher Center on the campus of Valley City State University in Valley City. The five North Dakota habitats – wetlands, badlands, prairie, woodlands and riparian – will be studied, with the North Dakota Studies Habitats curriculum used as textbooks.

The fast-paced workshop offers a hands-on approach educators can use in their classrooms and on field trips, and in discussing classroom and curriculum integration. All supplies are provided.

Workshop instructor Sherry Niesar, a 25-year volunteer wildlife educator with the Game and Fish Department, has a master’s in wildlife science from South Dakota State University.

A $20 registration fee for nonmembers of the Valley City Area Teacher Center is required. Graduate credit is available through the University of North Dakota.

To register for the workshop, call Sandy Zahn at (701) 845-7282 or e-mail sandy.zahn@sendit.nodak.edu. For information on Habitats of North Dakota, contact Sherry Niesar at (701) 527-3714 or e-mail sniesar@nd.gov.


Game and Fish to Sell Property in Bismarck

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will sell real property within the city limits of Bismarck at a public auction on June 10 at 11 a.m. at the front door of the Burleigh County Courthouse in Bismarck.

Legal description of the property consists of Lots 11 and 12 of Section 3, Township 138 North, Range 80 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian. Located at 814 Airport Road, sale includes the land and buildings on the property that formerly housed the Game and Fish Department’s shop and laboratory, and includes some office space. The department’s new shop and lab are located at 3001 East Main Avenue.

Written bids in a sealed envelope received by 10 a.m. on the day of the auction will be accepted, and must be accompanied by earnest money for 10 percent of the total bid. Written bids must be addressed to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Attn: Paul Schadewald, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501. Written bids will be opened at the start of the auction. It is not necessary to submit a written bid to bid at the auction.

For more information, including an appointment to inspect the property, contact Schadewald at (701) 328-6328.

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