Three Strikes You're out in the Old... Great... Plains!

August 2, 2013

Steve Zack, WCS's Coordinator of Bird Conservation, explains the ways in which oil and gas fracking efforts may reshape the American prairie, and the consequences for grassland birds and bison.

The first strike against the Great Plains in recorded times was the decimation of the American bison in the 19th Century. The second strike was not from a pitch, but rather the plow and the resulting widespread conversion of native grasslands to crops.

The third strike, being delivered now, is the massive drilling and fracking for oil in the Bakken formation in the Dakotas, Montana, and nearby Canada. Western civilization is soundly beating nature in the Great Plains. Several species of grassland birds and other wildlife are at risk as a consequence.

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