The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has given 18 grants that with matching contributions will give $12.5 million to North Dakota to help wildlife in the Northern Great Plains. This $12.5 million will go towards projects that will help pronghorn, mule deer, and sage grouse. More specifically, the funds will restore 70,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Likewise, some of the $12.5 million will go towards putting 62,000 acres under conservation easement. Two other areas that the funding will go towards are to remove or improve 44 miles of fencing for wildlife crossings and look to improve over 30 sage grouse breeding areas within the state.
The Organizations that will receive parts of this funding have been some of the stalwarts of wildlife conservation. The Mule Deer Foundation (MDF), Ducks Unlimited, the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition, and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust are some of the big names.
“In addition to enhancing and conserving wildlife habitat for species such as the black-footed ferret and greater sage grouse, these projects also address climate resiliency and maintain healthy rural economies in partnership with tribal and ranching communities.” – National Fish and Wildlife Foundation CEO Jeff Trandahl
A new position for the MDF
This $12.5 million will also create a new position within the MDF. The Dakota Grasslands habitat partnership coordinator will be the organization’s first staff person with an emphasis on the eastern range of mule deer. However, this position comes with its own unique challenges. This area is dominated by private land with intermixed federal and state lands, this can make habitat improvement projects tricky and sometimes slow-moving. This position will work with several wildlife departments throughout the Great Plains as well as other conservation partners within the industry.