- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A program that provides grants to conservation projects across North Dakota will consider only five projects totaling about $1.1 million next month.

Previous Outdoor Heritage Fund grant rounds have involved amounts of at least $2.5 million. However, the fund that gets a percentage of oil and gas production taxes is getting less than half the $27 million expected during the two-year budget cycle due to the oil slowdown.

That has led to more scrutiny of grant proposals, to ensure the available dollars are being well spent, The Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1qQbDLt ).

“Everyone’s a bit concerned with budgeting,” said Jim Melchior, chairman of the advisory board that makes funding recommendations to the state Industrial Commission. “The board was very cautious.”

The 2013 Legislature established the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The goal is to restore land affected by energy production and to develop such things as fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation areas. In its first two years it provided about $23.5 million for more than 80 projects.

The fund is overseen by the Industrial Commission, which is made up of the governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner. The group next meets on May 23.

Funding preference is being given to projects that are ready to be implemented, according to Melchior.

“Getting a grant is going to be a bit more difficult,” he said. “You’ve got to have all your ducks in a row.”

The largest recommendation in this grant round is for $900,000 for soil conservation districts in Morton, Grant and Oliver counties. The money would go toward implementing livestock water systems as well as grassland plantings and grazing plans in the three counties. The application states the grant is for a project with a total cost of $1.5 million that would improve 16,000 grassland acres.

___

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

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide