Among the places they stayed in April 1805 was the spot in northwestern North Dakota where the Yellowstone and the Missouri Rivers meet. Today, visitors to the area can see a view that is nearly  the same as that seen by the two explorers, thanks to the efforts of a diverse group of conservation partners, including The Conservation Fund.

Our Role

In 2003 and 2004, the Fund joined with the American Foundation for Wildlife, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to acquire and protect two important properties on opposite banks of the Yellowstone River where it joins the Missouri. Together, the 388-acre Neu’s Point property on the south shore of the Yellowstone, and the 997-acre Ochs Point property on the north shore conserve the view at the confluence of the two rivers where Lewis and Clark  stayed on their journey West.

The Neu’s Point and the Ochs Point State Wildlife Management Areas also protect critical fish and wildlife habitat. The waters at the confluence are home to one of the most viable populations of prehistoric paddlefish anywhere in the U.S. and provide the best remaining habitat in the world for the endangered pallid sturgeon. The property also protects important nesting and migration habitat for hundreds of species of migratory and resident birds, including the endangered piping plover and the least tern.

Why This Project Matters

By helping our partners acquire the Neu’s Point and Ochs Point properties, we’ve helped to protect a spot that played a key role in the opening of the American West. In addition, protecting the confluence contributes to a healthier ecosystem. Sandbars and shorelines in the area are important nesting habitat for the threatened piping plover and endangered least tern.As an undammed, free-flowing river, the Yellowstone’s periodic floods nourish the cottonwood forest bottomland along its banks. By conserving land at Neu’s Point and Ochs Point, we’re supporting the natural processes that keep this ecosystem healthy.

“The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the general public benefit tremendously from the collaboration and leveraging of resources associated with this project. The project protects some of the largest remaining forests along the Missouri, preserving premium habitat for while-tailed deer, shoreline access to paddlefishing, and nearly 400 acres of recreational land of high historic importance.”
—Ken Sambor, North Dakota Game and Fish Department

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