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NDFB encourages comments opposing Dakota Grassland Conservation Area

Created: 7/08/11 (Fri) | Topic: Issues

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to accelerate the acquisition of wetland and grassland habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region, including North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Under this new strategy, they are developing a Dakota Grassland Conservation Area. The USFWS has identified 240,000 acres of wetland and 1.7 million acres of grassland for migratory bird habitat, through perpetual easements.

The proposed Dakota Grassland project would complement the existing Small Wetlands Acquisition Program (SWAP). When complete, the strategy would include 1.8 million acres of wetland and 10 million acres of grassland throughout the three-state region.

The USFWS says it will work with private landowners to acquire perpetual easements as a means of protecting wetland and grassland habitat from being converted to other uses. The USFWS would buy these perpetual easements from willing landowners with a voluntary legal agreement. They say the easements would allow for the continuation of traditional activities such as farming wetlands when dry from natural conditions and livestock grazing and haying on grasslands.

The USFWS is currently accepting public comments on its Draft Land Protection Plan. The deadline to submit comment is July 25, 2011.

To learn more or to comment, go to our Action Alert page then click on the "Take Action" button under the headline: Action Alert: Oppose expansion of USFWS Easements.

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