Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Perennially, North Dakota is near the top of the list for loss of soil due to erosion in the Great Plains. Efforts to encourage no till or minimum till practices that benefit wildlife and wetland habitat and provide increased soil and water conservation by keeping the soil in place are pursued. Natural resource agencies will rent specialized equipment for interested landowners. Cultural, mechanical, and biological methods may be used. Funding for this practice goes for rental of no-till seeders for planting winter wheat and for rental of undercutters which destroy weeds with little disturbance to the surface and ground-nesting wildlife which may be present. Since 1987, 6,689 acres of North Dakota cropland have been treated with this project.
Beneficial: [+] lark bunting, grasshopper sparrow, western meadowlark, red-winged blackbird, vesper sparrow, nesting ducks, marbled godwit, upland sandpiper, migrating raptors, mourning doves (nest and foraging), killdeer, savannah sparrow, horned lark, willet, Baird's sparrow, chestnut-collared longspur, bobolink, brown-headed cowbird
Negative: [-] mallard, pintail, horned lark, killdeer, vesper sparrow, Franklin's gull, ring-billed gull
Very negative: [--]
COMMENTS: There may be some significant variation in the impacts to individual species when the practice is used in the spring versus autumn. Most species that benefit would benefit from increased foraging opportunities, rather than nesting. Several species might nest to some extent where they would otherwise not nest at all. Much better foraging conditions for both migrants and nesters, especially in a mosaic situation. Several grassland species will use these fields to some extent. The practice should have limited detrimental effects.