Health & Environment | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Health & Environment

A mixed bag.

That's how North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring describes the fall harvest.

"There's some good stuff out there," said Goehring. "Some storms have taken their toll on some crops. But the quality in a lot of the small grains is pretty good."

"We've had some tremendous yields in places," said Goehring. "And there are some places that have just been average."

Goehring says once row crops start coming in, he thinks that could be a little different.

North Dakota agriculture and conservation groups have reached an agreement concerning who will employ farm bill biologists.

Those biologists will work with farmers on voluntary conservation programs.

Farm groups raised some concerns – because the Natural Resources Conservation Service had not only employed biologists from Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever to handle those programs – they were housed at NRCS offices. Now, the agreement means the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts will house the farm bill biologists.

An assistant joint surgeon with the National Guard bureau in the Pentagon says she wants to encourage state and local partnerships with the National Guard – to help meet medical and behavioral health needs of military members and veterans.

Rear Admiral Joan Hunter says the effort is called the Guard’s Psychological Health Program. She says the National Guard itself doesn’t offer behavioral health treatment – but can partner with local groups to make that treatment available. However, she says the bureaucracy is so big, it is intimidating.

10 West Nile cases reported in ND

Sep 4, 2015

North Dakota is reporting 10 human cases of West Nile Virus so far this season.

That’s up by two from last week.

The Health Department’s Michelle Feist says the latest cases were reported in Burleigh and Dickey Counties. She says so far this has been a low year for West Nile. And Feist says this isn’t a time to let your guard down – because even though there are fewer mosquitoes, they’re still out there.

The state Health Department is investigating three e-coli cases in eastern North Dakota.

Health Department epidemiologist Michelle Feist says all three people are under 18 – and all attended the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo. Feist says it appears they had contact with potentially infected animals.

“Even though there may be an animal that is healthy, they can shed e-coli in their stools," said Feist. "So there can be a risk in attending certain events where there are animals present.”

An interim Legislative committee will continue a study of behavioral health services in North Dakota.

In the previous interim, a consultant issued a report about how North Dakota handles services for  mental illness and substance abuse. The Schulte report was the basis for some bills passed in the 2015 Legislature – but advocates say there’s more work to do.

"You don't change an infrastructure like behavioral health services in two years," said Rep. Kathy Hogan (D-Fargo), who will chair the interim committee. "This is a very long-term challenge."

An official with the state Department of Human Services says one of the big issues the state is facing in behavioral health is tearing down the silos between mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment.

Pamela Sagness is the director of the department’s behavioral health division. She says an advisory group is looking at ways to integrate treatment.

ND, other states sue EPA over 'Waters of the US' rule

Jun 29, 2015
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota and 12 other states have gone to federal court to stop the EPA and the Corps of Engineers from enforcing the new “Waters of the United States” rule.

The suit was filed in federal court in Bismarck.

The plaintiffs say the new rule is federal overreach.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the EPA’s new rule is unconstitutional. He says it goes far beyond the intent of the Clean Water act.

“This federal power grab is unnecessary, unlawful and will do nothing to increase water quality in our state,” Stenehjem said at a Capitol news conference.

03055 Mo River meeting                                        6-4-15 ddt

A group advocating for North Dakota’s interests when it comes to the Missouri River wants to expand the group to be a statewide organization.

The North Dakota Missouri River Stakeholders held its spring conference in Bismarck. Organizers say it’s designed to get more than state leaders involved in the issues.

ND & Mt Paddlefish Given Healthy Status

May 19, 2015
ND Game and Fish Dept. / ND Game and Fish Dept.

Despite a threat of contamination from an upstream oil spill, officials with North Dakota Game and Fish are reporting no resulting troubles in northwest North Dakota. Prairie Public Reporter Todd McDonald has details…