Since oil was discovered in the western part of the state in 1951, North Dakota has experienced boom and bust cycles with the oil industry. Advanced technology has allowed more oil to be recovered than ever before. Fracking and horizontal drilling technology is used in the western part of the state to help extract oil from the shale formations. Fracking is questioned by some people as being a potential danger to the state’s ground water.
The use of lignite coal has been around since the first American Indians lived in North Dakota and continues today. The strip mining techniques used to extract lignite coal has changed the landscape in many areas of coal country. In the 1970’s, state and industry leaders worked together to create plans for reclamation of the land, which is an attempt to return the land to its original state as closely as possible once the coal has been extracted.
The Missouri River is a major water source for the state. It is used for irrigation, hydroelectric power, industry, and recreation. The Garrison Dam was built in the 1950’s to help control flooding, generate power, and expand irrigation throughout the state. Managing the dam and river have proven to be a challenge and controversy exists on how to better use North Dakota's water resources.
Findings Aids on Natural Resources in North Dakota:
612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
We are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
State Archives: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F, except state holidays; 2nd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
State Historical Society offices: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F, except state holidays.