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North Dakota Game and Fish is supporting the Meadowlark Initiative to preserve native grasslands



Bismarck, North Dakota – The Meadowlark Initiative of North Dakota Game and Fish aims to halt the statewide prairie deterioration.

The Meadowlark Initiative plants native grassland species all around the state as one of its initiatives.

“Well, it’s really a coalition of a lot of partners, AG, energy, and conservation all coming together to really do a better job and take care of our native grassland,” said Greg Link, chief chair of the conservation communications division.

According to figures from Game and Fish, there are 1% fewer cattle ranches in the United States per year, putting the country’s longstanding ranching legacy in danger.

“And we do that by taking care of those ranchers. We know the rancher in public is really out there and making a living on it. So, if we take care of them, they’re going to take care of our grasslands. But we also have to work with energy development and other development projects trying to reduce the impact to the native grassland and then obviously make our public really aware of the importance of those grasslands and what they bring to our communities,” said Link.

The program began in the spring of 2020 and has the support of numerous different partners throughout the state. The USDA provided funding to North Dakota Game and Fish to launch the project, but they want to continue it.

“We pull the resources, the technical and financial resources from all those different groups. And create a pathway that makes it easier for landowners and producers to kind of navigate that and get the assistance that they need,” said Heather Husband, coordinator of the Meadowlark Initiative.

There have been major losses in several grassland-dependent species, including pollinators and grassland birds.

“We’re down under 25% of our remaining native prairie, and like I said, a lot of that isn’t even that good of shape,” said Link.

Depending on the preferences of the conservation partners, landowners, and producers, Game and Fish has various programs to aid in the preservation of the natural prairie. Visit the North Dakota Game and Fish website if you’re interested.

According to Game and Fish, 60% of North Dakota’s approximately five million acres of wetland have been destroyed or changed.