NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — North Dakota’s grasslands are vital to our ecosystem. They help our livestock and wildlife.

However, according to the Burleigh Soil Conservation District Manager, Darrell Oswald, our state’s native grasslands are down to 25%.

North Dakota’s native grasslands are home to more than 100 species and our soils also come from native grasslands.

So, preserving and restoring our grasslands is important for our ecosystem to function properly.

Oswald says the best way to protect our grasslands is to simply just be aware of the problem.

“We’re fully aware of the understanding and importance of annual cropping as well. I think the awareness needs to be there that at some point, we’re going to have a tipping point and we won’t be able to get back,” said Oswald.

However, there are possible solutions to helping save and preserve our grasslands such as soil conservation and planting something other than a monoculture crop, which is just planting one type of crop at a time.

“I think that down the road, we could even use perennials in our annual cropping system where we can have an annual crop and put a perennial in for three to five years and help build that soil back, put back some of the things that the annual cropping scenario has taken back,” Oswald said.

On March 1, the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District is hosting the grazing summit at Bismarck State College in the National Energy Center of Excellence.

For more information about the summit, visit their website.