Wildlife & Habitat

Wildlife Habitat 512 x 300

The unique combination of prairie and wetland is a boon to many species of wildlife. High densities of wetlands scattered throughout large tracts of grasslands provide the perfect conditions for nesting migratory birds and grassland nesting birds.


Wetlands are unique habitats that provide food, cover, water, and space for a variety of wildlife. Wetlands, because of the wildlife that depend on them, also offer us recreation opportunities. Whether you're a hunter, trapper, birdwatcher, or someone looking for a nice place to sit  back, relax, and enjoy the scenery, wetlands have something to offer. 

Wetlands are more then just duck habitat, they also slow water flows during runoff which reduces the impact of flooding. As water slows, it filters into the groundwater supply, recharging wells, aquifers, and soil moisture. Wetlands collect nutrients and sediments, purifying water as it filters. During dry years, they may also provide an important water source for livestock.


The grasslands throughout the district have a rich diversity of plants with 700 species represented in the region and over 100 species of grasses found in this area of North Dakota. Northern mixed grass prairie consists of species of eastern tallgrass, western shortgrass, northern fescue, and southern sandhill prairies. Like all habitats, prairie grasslands health is determined by temperature, moisture, light, soil type, and topography.

Grasslands provide nesting opportunities for migrating waterfowl and resident wildlife populations. Grasslands in the prairie pothole region are the most important to northern breeding waterfowl such as Northern Pintails, Mallards, Blue-winged teal, and Northern Shovelers. 

The economic benefit associated with grasslands in this area is important to humans as well. These areas serve large herds of livestock for ranchers. Grasslands plants and soil have extraordinary capacity to remove and store atmospheric carbon, thus diminishing greenhouse gases. Plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and use it to build leaves, stems, and roots.