From May 1 through May 7, GSS staff members Kevin Stark, Nick Lemcke, and Darren Omoth conducted fieldwork as part of the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) update, consisting of seven counties in the northeast corner of North Dakota. GSS staff met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials to identify different types of wetlands, discuss wetland conservation techniques, and examine aerial photo signatures to ensure consistent wetland mapping delineations. Much of the focus was on the prairie pothole region, as the study area comprises the central flyway for bird migration and is critical for waterfowl habitat and waterfowl reproduction. Another important focus was on the federal easement program, which is vital to protect wetlands, as the elimination of non-protected wetlands continues due to heavy draining and ditching.
That same week, staff members Andy Robertson, Kevin Benck, and Al Rabine traveled to the Fort Berthold Reservation in northwestern North Dakota. GSS is working with the Three Affiliated Tribes (TAT) on wetland mapping, a wetland program plan, and a wetland functional assessment for reservation lands.