Dalrymple names members of N.D. conservation board

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Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Gov. Jack Dalrymple named a 12-member advisory board on Sept. 12 for a new conservation fund designed to restore land affected by energy production and to develop such things as fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation areas.

The North Dakota Outdoor Heritage fund was established this year by the Legislature and will receive up to $15 million annually from oil and gas taxes.

Dalrymple called the fund and its new board a “historic, well-funded opportunity that brings together multiple interests and perspectives to enhance the state’s legendary outdoors.”

North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, co-sponsored the measure that established the fund.

“I hope that it will help restore habitat that has been destroyed by oil development,” Wardner said in an interview. “We all want clean water, clean air and healthy soil. I do expect some good things to come out of this.”

The North Dakota Industrial Commission will oversee the fund. Dalrymple is chairman of the commission, which regulates North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring are its other members.

The advisory board announced on Sept. 12 consists of agriculture, energy, conservation, business and recreation officials.

Named to the panel were Eric Aasmundstad, Devils Lake; Robert Kuylen, South Heart; Wade Moser, Bismarck; Dan Wogsland, Bismarck; Blaine Hoffman, Gladstone; Jim Melchior, Bismarck; Tom Hutchens, Bismarck; Patricia Stockdill, Garrison; Jon Godfread, Bismarck; Randy Bina, Bismarck; Carolyn Godfread, Bismarck; and Kent Reierson, Williston.

Each member will serve a five-year term; their appointments took effect on Sept. 13, and the board met for the first time on Sept. 16 in Bismarck.

The governor said the board will consider proposals that include access to private and public lands for hunters and enhancement of water quality and soil conditions in the state.

“I see no reason to see much delay in getting grants deployed,” Dalrymple said during a ceremony at the Heritage Center on the state Capitol grounds

Conservation advocates who want a bigger slice of oil revenue for the fund are circulating petitions to try to put the measure on the November 2014 ballot.

Dalrymple said the newly established fund can be leveraged with private and federal money. The governor said lawmakers likely will put more cash toward the fund in the future.

“Personally, I think this is a better way to start,” Dalrymple said.