Lauren Donovan / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—A small critter in western North Dakota tips the controversy scale well above its three-pound fighting weight. Cute as a bug's ear with its chirruping, kissing-cousin ways on one hand, it's a potent competitor to cattle grazers on the other. The black-tailed prairie dog is in the crosshairs once again, this time in a plan by the U.S. Forest Service to eradicate about one-third of its acreage and thousands of the animals where they are encroaching on private land across a designated boundary fence.
BISMARCK—Something like 10,000 live births are happening every day in North Dakota. These are wobbly legged calves, not humans, born into cold winds and wet snow of a typical spring. It's rarely a perfect outcome, made more elusive as the effects of last year's drought ripple outward like waves from a rock chucked into a stock dam. It's early days still in the months'-long calving season, but some producers are seeing the consequences of last year's stunted pastures and inadequate hay in preterm abortions and dead calves.
HETTINGER COUNTY, N.D. — Aryn Hansen could see her coffee cup as half full or half empty, and, after opening a new coffeehouse on Mott's Main Street during one of the driest springs on record, she remains optimistic. However, during what should be a bustling harvest season, this young businesswoman notices the customers she doesn't have — the wives of the custom combine crews who might have stopped at the Tilted Tulip for a specialty coffee and fresh muffin after the crews hit the fields.
TWIN BUTTES, N.D.—A newly reported oil fluid spill in the the western North Dakota Badlands is located close as the crow flies to an earlier massive spill that will remain under clean up until spring. Even while a Canadian company specializing in cleaning cold water oil spills had been working to rectify a 4,200-barrel oil spill into Ash Coulee Creek, its workers were deployed to a second spill of 300 barrels of primarily toxic salt water impacting the Franks Creek drainage just 3 miles away.
MANDAN, N.D.—A razor-wired barricade with a snow-swept, forbidding appearance between the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and Mandan could be dismantled if it turns out a bridge is undamaged from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The Backwater Bridge spanning Cantapeta Creek was closed Oct. 27 during a sweep of pipeline protesters and after a vehicle was set on fire, smoldering for hours on the north end.
CANNON BALL, N.D. — A bridge that's been closed for nearly two months because of possible damage during the Dakota Access Pipeline protest will be inspected Thursday to determine whether it needs repairs before being reopened. The North Dakota Department of Transportation will take core samples on the Backwater Bridge and should know within a 30-day window of evaluation what repairs, if any, are needed. The Morton County Sheriff's Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol will also participate in the inspection.
HAYMARSH, N.D. — Red cherries hang like summer jewels in an orchard at Haymarsh, a peaceful valley settlement about 60 miles west of Bismarck where Ken and Mary Ann Duppong grow fruit amid their amber waves of grain.
Dakota Access LLC pipeline has filed 23 condemnation suits against 140 individuals, banks and a coal mine to gain easements through North Dakota.