Affiliate of the Week: North Dakota Wildlife Federation
In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, North Dakota Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
WHO WE ARE
The North Dakota Wildlife Federation (NDWF) is an educational and charitable nonprofit organization and association of local clubs, organizations and individuals from across the state of North Dakota. NDWF is a grassroots group of people from all walks of life dedicated to advancing the protection of our natural resources through education and science. They work to protect and enhance North Dakota’s fish and wildlife, natural resources, and public access to those resources.
WHAT WE DO
At its heart, the North Dakota Wildlife Federation promotes responsible hunting, fishing, trapping, bird watching, and other wildlife-related activities through education, programs, and projects. The federation encourages local, state, and federal agencies to make sure North Dakota’s natural resources are properly used for recreation while benefiting the state’s economy.
The North Dakota Wildlife Federation offers its membership the opportunity to rally around common values, a common mission, and a common vision. It provides a single united voice in the interests of the wildlife resource. The team dedicates itself to educating and informing North Dakota’s public on issues affecting the wildlife resource and encouraging public participation in both the legislative processes and the administrative process of setting policy affecting wildlife.
Public trust doctrine states that wildlife is owned in common by all the people, managed for the equitable benefit of all the citizens, and is to be democratically distributed among all the people. North Dakota Wildlife Federation’s mission is to apply its resources and efforts to maintain North Dakota’s wildlife resources in the public trust, accessible to all citizens, available to future generations, and secure within a landscape of sustainable habitat.
Focus on Advocacy:
The North Dakota Wildlife Federation is the leading conservation voice in the state legislature. They monitor all bills related to conservation and outdoor recreation, testify at committee hearings, lobby local legislators, and mobilize their members to do the same. In addition to working with partners at the North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society (TWS) and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust to host a Legislative Reception for all legislators during the session, NDWF and TWS send a monthly “Conservation Note,” a short, 100-word tickler on current conservation issues, to all state legislators. The two organizations also worked together to send a 5-question natural resource survey to the two gubernatorial candidates in the November election, and will publicly post survey responses on their websites and in communications to all members to help the public make informed decisions.
NDWF also plays a key advocacy role with key natural resource agencies like the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the North Dakota Industrial Commission, the U.S. Forest Service, and the state’s National Wildlife Refuges and National Grasslands. Their relationships with these officials combined with a common sense approach and the grassroots power of their members and affiliates often result in better outcomes for North Dakota’s outdoors.
Educating Our Youth:
The North Dakota Wildlife Federation has a rich history of educating youth about conservation and introducing them to hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities. For decades they operated a summer youth conservation camp on Lake Sakakawea, and they continue to partner with their affiliates to provide opportunities for kids to get their hands dirty learning about the natural world and our outdoor traditions. NDWF also provides scholarship funds for the Wildlife Departments at the University of North Dakota and Valley City State University.
MAKING A NATIONAL IMPACT
State-level efforts in North Dakota for key species and habitats have important impacts for wildlife conservation across the nation. In particular, NDWF’s focus on waterfowl and grasslands play an essential role in the national conversation.
Waterfowl — The prairie pothole region in North Dakota holds the best remaining interior wetlands complex in the lower forty-eight states. These wetlands are not only important for state waterfowl populations, as a critical migration stop-over and nesting area, but they are also important to the nation’s duck, goose, and shorebird populations. NDWF’s work in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation on the Conservation Titles of the Farm Bill and the Clean Water Act helps ensure that the health of our prairie potholes continues into the future.
Grasslands – Western North Dakota is home to some of the most ecologically rich grasslands left in the country. Unfortunately, the Bakken oil play is having a significant impact on the public and private lands. The North Dakota Wildlife Federation is working hard to improve the way the oil patch is being developed and to make sure the best pieces of the prairie, such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and nearby parcels in the Little Missouri National Grassland, are being protected from any industrial oil development. These places are too special to be developed, especially in light of the fact that most of the oil underneath them could still be developed through directional drilling and other best management practices. The North Dakota Wildlife Federation’s new film, Keeping All the Pieces, outlines the importance of these special places and ways the industrial development could be altered to protect them. Stay tuned: this film will be available online soon.