- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota committee that advises the governor on land purchases by nonprofits is recommending approval of a sale in Washburn for flood control.

The Natural Areas Acquisition Advisory Committee recommended Friday that Gov. Jack Dalrymple approve the purchase of 255 acres of private farmland by the American Foundation for Wildlife. Drainage infrastructure would be built on the land, which would be turned over to North Dakota Game and Fish to be managed as part of the Painted Woods Wildlife Management Area.

The number of nonprofit groups allowed to buy land in North Dakota is limited under state law, which also requires government approval for land purchases, with the governor having the final nod.

Farmers and ranchers who live near the land have expressed approval of the purchase because McLean County plans to install flood control infrastructure to combat springtime flooding.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner is on the committee and supported the sale due to its flood-control purpose.

“I have never supported removal of land from agriculture’s use - only in the event that there was significant benefits,” Goehring said.

Backed-up water flowing into Painted Woods Lake has been flooding adjacent farmland for the past several years, the Bismarck Tribune reported (bit.ly/25b5N7j). The problem is caused by years of silt build up 12-foot-tall cattails restricting drainage into the lake.

Committee members Mark Giedd, of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, and Daryl Lies, of the North Dakota Farm Bureau, voted against the land purchase.

Lies said he would like to see a comparable 255 acres of nearby federal land transferred to the state for management and use by agriculture, as part of a land exchange.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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