North Dakota Industrial Commission approves $5.7 million in conservation fund grants


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BISMARCK, North Dakota — North Dakota's Industrial Commission has approved $5.7 million for 14 projects under the state's Outdoor Heritage Fund, pushing the total doled out through the fledgling program to $14 million.

The Legislature established the fund last year. It will receive up to $15 million annually from oil and gas taxes. The goal is to restore land affected by energy production and to develop such things as fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation areas.

The panel approved $5.8 million for 17 projects in January and $2.5 million for 17 projects in May. The latest grant awards were made Wednesday.

"This round includes a variety of projects, from enhancing outdoor experiences for our citizens across the state to implementing best-management practices that will result in improved water quality," Outdoor Heritage Fund Advisory Board Chairman Wade Moser said in a statement.

The biggest grant awarded in the third round was $3 million to the state Game and Fish Department for pheasant habitat. Delta Waterfowl also got a big chunk — nearly $1.8 million to preserve wetlands. Other funded projects include bank stabilization for shore fishing, a walking trail and bird observatory, a campground and fishing docks.

The deadline for applications for the fourth round of grants is Nov. 3.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring make up the Industrial Commission, which regulates North Dakota's oil and gas industry.


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