In 2017, Audubon Dakota initiated the establishment of the Prairie Management Toolbox Program. Now in Grand Forks and Stutsman County, with roughly 10,000 acres enrolled. Audubon Dakota plans to grow the program to other counties of North Dakota, such as Burleigh, Mclean and Sheridan.
The Prairie Management Toolbox provides prairie restoration and enhancement resources, financial support for grazing infrastructure and invasive species removal for private landowners. Funding for the program was provided by the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF), which has allowed Audubon Dakota to enhance over 15,000 acres of rangeland.
- Grazing Infrastructure Support: financial support is available for landowners interested in establishing or expanding grazing infrastructure (fencing, well, pipelines, ect.)
- Prairie Restoration: financial support for native prairie restoration which increases soil stability and health, water quality, provides wildlife habitat, and many more benefits
- Invasive species removal: technical and financial support is available for landowners to assist in the removal of invasive vegetation species
Resources will be focused on assisting landowners with Conservation Reserve Program compliance.
Ben Draxton of Thompson, ND was the first landowner to enroll within Audubon Dakota’s Grand Forks County Prairie Management Toolbox in early 2018. As a young rancher, Ben has proved to be an ambitious and willing partner who is eager to expand and improve his grassland acres for his cattle and native wildlife. This year, Audubon Dakota and NRCS assisted Ben with installing over 20,000 feet of fencing on 363 acres of rangeland, and invasive species removal on 213 acres. Grassland birds that will benefit from the improved range management on Ben’s family ranch include western meadowlark and marbled godwit.
“As a landowner and rancher I appreciated Audubon's desire to partner with me. It's great to see a group like Audubon that has a passion for grasslands, come up with a plan of action that benefits the cattle producer and promotes healthy habitats for wildlife. Also they are great people to work with and the made the process smooth and enjoyable.” – Ben Draxton