Long considered the birthplace of American conservation, North Dakota is where Theodore Roosevelt fell in love with the badlands, where the magnificent American bison roam, and where the Great Plains stretch as far as the eye can see. If you live here, it's paradise; if you visit, you'll never forget it.
But in recent years, the allure of this Midwestern state has taken an about-face, garnering attention from the world for what lurks below its picturesque vistas - natural gas. Tapping into this state's most valuable natural resource has resulted in record profits for the oil and gas industry and outstanding opportunities for the people who live here.
But for environmentalists, fracking in North Dakota's Bakken Shale comes with its share of concerns; mainly, the burning off of natural gas, called flaring. This process creates emissions of carbon dioxide and methane-the perfect recipe for global warming. Recent numbers reveal that North Dakota is now flaring the most gas in the nation.
Examining the consequences of flaring on North Dakota's environment and analyzing the effectiveness of resource management initiatives to curb flaring are just two of the topics studied by environmental scientists in North Dakota.
Armed with the right education, you, too, can pursue a career in environmental science and serve as a scientist, researcher and advocate tackling North Dakota's most pressing environmental issues.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in North Dakota
A state's environmental protection initiatives are only as good as the agencies that implement and oversee them. With this in mind, North Dakota Governor Burgum signed into legislation the creation of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in 2019. The DEQ, which will take over the environmental protection programs currently being administered by the Department of Health, will streamline the state's environmental efforts and will be overseen by a 13-member review advisory board.
Nonprofits also play a big role in the environmental efforts in North Dakota. For example, the Nature Conservancy has worked tirelessly for more than 37 years to conserve the state's lands and waters, including the Davis Ranch, the Pigeon Point Preserve, and the Cross Ranch Preserve.
Maintaining environmental compliance is an issue affecting governmental agencies and private industry in North Dakota, and environmental consulting companies like SWCA Environmental Consultants and Badlands Environmental Consultants Inc. ensure that their clients adhere to environmental laws and regulations.
Master's in Environmental Science in North Dakota
Master's degrees in environmental science, while interdisciplinary in nature as to provide students with a broad foundation in biology, ecology, the social sciences, the humanities, and more, often allow students to focus on a specific topic of interest through concentrations or tracks.
For example, one of the biggest names in higher education in North Dakota offers a master's program in environmental science that can be customized to suit your professional pursuits. To this end, North Dakota State University's MS in Environmental and Conservation Sciences offers three tracks: environmental science, conservation biology, or environmental social sciences.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in North Dakota
A bachelor's degree in environmental science is a jumping off point for those new to the field, providing a well-rounded curriculum that translates well in the field and in the classroom for future graduate study, if desired.
Just two colleges in North Dakota offer an undergraduate degree in environmental science. The University of North Dakota offers a BS/BS in Environmental Studies, while Valley City State University offers a BS in Environmental Science.