N.D. State Waterbank Program seeking applications | TSLN.com

N.D. State Waterbank Program seeking applications

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA), along with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF), is seeking applications for the State Waterbank Program, a water management program for North Dakota landowners and lessees. Up to $1.2 million will be made available for grants through funding from the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund. Eligible lands include flooded agricultural land and naturally occurring wetlands throughout the state of North Dakota.

“The State Waterbank Program will focus on managing water in wet conditions and compensating landowners or lessees for flooded acres and surrounding upland areas,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “This working lands program allows surrounding upland areas to remain active while keeping present water bodies stored. Together, these areas will benefit pollinators, wildlife and sportsmen of North Dakota.”

The program provides participating landowners or lessees with a financial incentive to preserve wetlands along with at least an equal amount of adjacent upland through five- or 10-year agreements. During the agreement period, a participating landowner or lessee may not drain, burn or otherwise destroy the wetland character. Participants may manage the upland portion of enrolled land through seeding and a prescribed haying/grazing management plan.

“Applicants with a prescribed haying/grazing management plan will be given preference,” said Goehring. “Such plans keep the land active while helping to control noxious weeds.”

The payment rates have been set at $20/acre/year for wetland acres, $40/acre/year for enrolled seeded upland acres and $2/acre/year for enrolled public access acres. In order to be eligible, the public access acres cannot be compensated by other programs.

Cost-sharing is available to plant grass or pollinator mix on the upland acres enrolled in the program through NDDA and NDGF.

The application period for the State Waterbank Program closes April 15, 2016. Applications and complete details are available at http://www.nd.gov/ndda/program/waterbank-program.