FARGO - Microsoft and Audubon Dakota are partnering on a project to improve water quality and storage in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The partnership advances the Urban Woods & Prairies Initiative in the metro area and along the Red River. The initiative focuses on restoring and managing wetlands, grasslands and flood plain woodlands to help clean area waters.

Microsoft and the National Audubon Society’s Audubon Dakota, state office of the Dakotas, announced the initiative in a news release Monday, July 13.

In 2019, Microsoft made a water replenishment commitment to replace what is consumed in water-stressed areas where the corporation operates.

With Microsoft’s support, Audubon Dakota will restore 6.7 acres of wetland and 37.3 acres of prairie habitat and create a rain garden demonstration area.

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The effort focuses on three projects: Heritage Hills Nature Park Restoration in Fargo, Oakport Wetland Restoration in Moorhead, and volunteer events for Microsoft employees at Forest River Nature Park in Fargo.

“The partnership with Microsoft is a win-win for our community and the Audubon mission,” said Marshall Johnson, executive director of Audubon Dakota.


Audubon Dakota’s Urban Woods & Prairies Initiative was launched in 2014. It seeks to restore natural areas along the Red River to improve the region’s resiliency to events like the historic 2009 flood. When the entire prairie wetlands project is completed, it is estimated that it will restore, filter and release more than an one billion gallons of water annually.

“In addition to the sustainable water impact, the project provides a great opportunity for Microsoft employees will learn about the community’s wetlands and the importance of water restoration through volunteer service in the Nature Park, said Sandi Piatz, senior director and site leader for Microsoft’s Fargo campus.