Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
State conservation agencies in North and South Dakota own approximately 9,300 and 21,870 ha of natural wetlands, respectively (Krapu and Duebbert 1989). A significant but uninventoried area of wetlands is contained in the unpatented State-owned lands lying below the meander line of natural lakes and on State-owned school lands (Morgan 1971). Meandered wetlands are mostly permanent or intermittent alkali lakes. An estimated 64,655 ha of meandered wetlands exist in South Dakota (Wittmier 1982); similar statistics are not available for North Dakota. Lands granted to the State for the support of public schools include a wide array of wetland types, including highly productive waterfowl habitat, and are located primarily within native grassland pastures leased for grazing. A total of 152,720 and 62,147 ha of State school lands of all habitat types remain in public ownership in the Prairie Pothole Region of North and South Dakota, respectively (State of North Dakota, Commissioner of University and School Lands 1987; South Dakota Office of School and Public Lands 1987). State school lands are not protected from eventual sale and over three-quarters have been sold in North and South Dakota. The current policy in North Dakota is to maintain remaining school lands in state ownership, whereas South Dakota is continuing to sell its school lands (South Dakota Office of School and Public Lands 1987). A small amount of wetland habitat is located on lands administered by other State agencies, e.g., in state parks and state forests. Other Federal agencies owning limited natural wetland habitat in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas include the Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Department of Defense.