ND Outdoors: Meadowlark Initiative

Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 11:35 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced a new statewide strategy that teams landowners, conservation groups, scientists, and others in a collective effort to save native grasslands.

The vision of the Meadowlark Initiative, named after the state’s iconic, yet declining western meadowlark, is to promote and create healthy, thriving grasslands that provide biodiversity and prosperity for wildlife, pollinators, ranching operations and communities.

“It really is about all grassland critters. It’s about our prairie habitats. It’s about people, communities, lifestyles, future generations, heritage, quality of life,” said NDGF Conservation/Communications Division Chief Greg Link.

North Dakota has lost more than 70% of its native prairie over time, and it will take more than the Game and Fish Department and its long list of contributing partners in the long-haul task of enhancing, restoring and retaining what’s left of the state’s native grasslands.

“We get into the ranchers and producers who run livestock on that prairie. They’re important to keeping that prairie healthy,” said Link.

Through the Meadowlark Initiative, producers can plant marginal cropland back to diverse native perennial grasslands for grazing. Cost-share to establish the grass and to install grazing infrastructure, such as fencing and water, is available. During the first three years of grass establishment, producers are also eligible to receive rental payments as the land transitions from cropland to grazing land.

“Game and Fish is the lead partner on this, but we have various supporting partners that are right there with us. And so we’ve come together and we’ll have a basically ongoing opportunity to come into our doors, our coral as we always say it and we’ll have partners there, everything you want, depending on what your goals are, what your needs are,” said Link.

To find out more information about the Meadowlark Initiative, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at or call 701-328-6300.

The Meadowlark Initiative focuses on improving, increasing and connecting wildlife habitat and supporting the sustainability of new and existing livestock ranches.

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