Landowners can grant limited
wildlife management on their land to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through Wildlife
Extension Agreements. Management activities include wetland and riparian restoration,
predator management, nest structure placement, livestock fencing, grazing management plan
development, and native grass seeding.
What happens to
the wetland restorations after the Wildlife Extension Agreements expire?
The North Dakota Partners for Fish and
Wildlife Program has worked in cooperation with over 3,500 landowners in every county of
North Dakota since 1987. One of our primary, overriding philosophies is to provide
one-time assistance on a particular habitat project, with the expectation that landowners
will integrate these habitat improvements into their agriculture operation and maintain
the project without further Partners for Fish and Wildlife assistance in the future.
As a routine follow-up, we talked to 17
landowners in Kidder and Stutsman Counties who had restored wetlands on Conservation
Reserve Program lands under 10-year Wildlife Extension Agreements that have recently
expired. Our findings on how many weland restorations remain intact are very encouraging:
- 82% of the landowners have not removed
plugs after the Wildlife Extension Agreements expired; 12% of the landowners we spoke with
had removed some plugs but left others. Only 6% reported removing all ditch plugs.
- 67% of the landowers had not removed
plugs because the tract was under Conservation Reserve Program contract; 40% stated that
they like seeing wildlife using the wetland(s).
- 60% of the landowners wanted additional
information on Fish and Wildlife Service wetland easements; 90% wanted additional
information on the Wetland Reserve Program.
- 58% said they would not drain other
wetlands on their farm if laws such as Swampbuster did not prohibit it; 49% of the
landowners said they they would drain other wetlands.
We will contact more landowners with
expired wetland restoration agreements in the near future and hope to have updated results
this spring. We expect that the numbers will change significantly, but hope that they will