$12.5 million to go towards wildlife in Northern Great Plains
North Dakota wildlife just got a major boost thanks to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The foundation has announced it is awarding 18 grants that total $5.8 million and will generate an additional $6.7 million in matching contributions to help grassland habitat across the Northern Great Plains, the Bismarck Tribune reports.
This $12.5 million will help antelope, mule deer and sage grouse. Specifically, the funds will place 62,000 acres under conservation easements, restore 70,000 acres of wildlife habitat, remove/improve 44 miles of fencing for wildlife crossing and conserve 31 greater sage grouse breeding areas. Organizations that will receive funding through the Northern Great Plains Program include the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF), Ducks Unlimited, the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition and the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust.
“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,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of the foundation.
The funding will also create a new full-time position.
“The Dakota Grasslands habitat partnership coordinator will be our first conservation staff person with an emphasis on the eastern range of mule deer, which is dominated by private land with intermixed federal and state lands,” said MDF Conservation Director Steve Belinda.
The coordinator will work with BLM, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department; South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department along with other industry and conservation partners, according to the Tribune.