Conservation of natural resources has become a major consideration in North Dakota. The state soil conservation committee, the state game and fish department, and the state water commission work with federal agencies to conserve the state’s natural resources.
Since the 1930s, the time of the Dust Bowl in the United States, prevention of soil erosion has been of special concern in the state. Many farmers have put conservation practices into effect. All of the state’s land area is included in soil conservation districts.
Hundreds of dams have been constructed in the state for flood control, municipal water supply, and irrigation. The largest is Garrison Dam on the Missouri River. Other important dams are Baldhill Dam, on the Sheyenne River; Homme Dam, on the Park River; Dickinson and Heart Butte dams, on the Heart River; Bowman-Haley Dam, on the Grand River; and Jamestown Dam, on the James River.
All of North Dakota’s coal production comes from strip mining, in which the soil and rock above the coal is stripped off by excavating machines. The land in a strip-mined area is devastated, but it can be reclaimed or restored for farming, grazing, or other productive uses. A state law requires the reclamation of land in strip-mined areas.
North Dakota does not have any significant urban or industrial pollution. However, the many irrigation and water diversion projects in the state have caused concern over possible pesticide and sediment runoff, and the major Garrison Diversion Project in western North Dakota was halted in the late 1970s after it was determined that agricultural runoff might disturb the ecology of the Souris River. "North Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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