N.D. gov. denies Ducks Unlimited request to buy land

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Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Jack Dalrymple has denied a request from Ducks Unlimited to buy a wetland-rich parcel in eastern North Dakota.

The hunting and conservation group said it still wants to buy the 47-acre tract from a private owner in Foster County.

Ducks Unlimited regional director Steve Adair tells the Bismarck Tribune that the group will work to find a plan that is more amenable.

“Mitigation needs are tied to infrastructure projects, and Ducks Unlimited wants to help meet these requirements while providing additional habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife,” Adair said. “We will continue to look at our options for working with this willing landowner and others around the state.”

Ducks Unlimited was planning to use the land for wetland mitigation and plant native grasses on it. Most of the acreage is now used for agriculture.

The Natural Areas Acquisition Advisory Committee, which advises the governor on land purchases by nonprofits, recommended that Dalrymple deny the Foster County sale.

Dalrymple, in a letter to the group, said he was denying the purchase “due to the division on the Foster County Board of Commissioners and the opposition of the Committee.”

Dalrymple ended his letter by saying he would be willing to reconsider his decision if Ducks Unlimited can address concerns by the county and neighboring landowners with an improved plan.

The number of nonprofit groups allowed to buy land in North Dakota is limited under state law. The law, added to the state’s ban on corporate farming in 1985, also requires government approval for land purchases, with the governor having the final nod.

State officials say the law was put in place in 1932 to protect the state’s agrarian heritage.