by Jim Williams


In 1987, the PPJV was established as one of the first six regional Joint Ventures under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. A Steering Committee and State Action Groups were formed, and a Coordinator was hired.

In June of 1988, the “Concept Plan for Waterfowl Habitat Protection- US Portion of Prairie Potholes and Parklands” was released. The goals, objectives, and strategies for protection of prime waterfowl breeding habitat were discussed in this 15-year plan. In addition to waterfowl, the Concept Plan noted that the value of the wetland and upland habitats for many other types of birds.

In April of 1989, the first PPJV Implementation Plan was completed. The Plan outlined management actions that will benefit at least 10 key duck species as well as migratory nongame birds that breed in the Region.

In 1989, Habitat and Population Evaluation Team (HAPET) offices were established in Bismarck, ND and Fergus Falls, MN to assist in the coordination and guidance of waterfowl management activities in the PPJV.

From 1987 to 1993, flagship projects were established in each State, along with monitoring and evaluation to track success. The PPJV recognized the importance of the Conservation Reserve Program, and issued a resolution calling for all Joint Ventures and the NAWMP US Implementation Board to secure support for CRP.

In 1995, PPJV released a new Implementation Plan that emphasized the importance of working with private landowners and USDA Conservation programs. The plan also recognized the need to develop increased knowledge about bird species in addition waterfowl in the prairies. A Technical Committee was also created that brought together expertise in waterfowl and non-waterfowl migratory bird research and management.

The period of 1995 to 2000 saw explosive growth in conservation and Joint Ventures. The North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) experienced increasing Federal appropriations resulting in diverse partnerships and meaningful wetland conservation. National plans for landbirds, waterbirds and shorebirds were being developed. Information technology expanded with new tools becoming available for use in landscape planning and design. The NAWMP was updated in 1998 and in 1999, the PPJV Management Board asked a group of Management Board members and the Coordinator to review the 1995 PPJV Implementation Plan to see if revisions were needed. The group concluded that the 1995 Plan was ahead of the curve (particularly in the non-waterfowl arena). The Management Board accepted the recommendation to continue on course.

In 2005, the PPJV finalized a new Implementation Plan recognizing the common thread that runs through each national bird plan, with respect to the prairies, is the protection of existing wetlands and native grasslands. Accordingly, the Plan established a goal of protecting 1.4 million additional wetland acres and 10.4 million grassland acres. In addition, the Plan set a goal of restoring wetlands sufficient to accommodate an additional 492,000 total breeding duck pairs, and 393,000 acres of grasslands associated with high density wetland communities. Lastly, the Plan recognized that waterfowl (and other wetland/grassland dependent species) utilize habitats on both sides of the U.S. Canadian border, so coordinating with the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture would be important moving forward with implementation.

During the period between 2005 and 2013, the PPJV continued to develop and advance ground-breaking scientific tools that help inform landscape conservation and evaluation. The NAWMP was undergoing a revision and Climate Change was surfacing as a driver of landscape change. Accordingly, the PPJV Management Board agreed to delay a revision of the Implementation Plan. In 2012, the NAWMP Revision was completed and Climate Change science and understanding has advanced, so the PPJV is embarking on the revision of their 2005 Implementation Plan. Through this effort, a new direction in conservation planning will be the driving force in the revision.