Development of the Bakken formation represents a multitude of trade-offs. The region is one of the great granaries of the world, but it is also the site of a recent oil and gas boom made possible by hydraulic fracturing. Overlapping with these natural resources is also a grasslands biome - one of the largest areas of grasslands in Canada and the US, which contains breeding grounds for millions of birds. How local residents understand the landscape is crucial to making fair and adequate policy to protect the ecosystem and the economy. This talk examines how landowners grapple with economic, environmental, and social trade-offs when making decisions about land-use.