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Outdoor Heritage Fund board to hear grant presentations

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news Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
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BISMARCK — Members of North Dakota’s Outdoor Heritage Fund Advisory Board will hear more than 70 presentations during a marathon session Monday and Tuesday to decide who should receive the first round of grants from the newly created fund.

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The board will consider 74 applications totaling about $34.3 million in grant requests.

The fund is limited to $30 million every two years from oil and gas production tax revenue. This is the first of five grant rounds scheduled in the 2013-2015 biennium.

Board chairman Wade Moser has said members want to spread the funding over multiple rounds, so some applicants will walk away empty-handed this round.

The 12 voting board members and four non-voting members are slated to hear 40 presentations from grant applicants on Monday and 31 presentations on Tuesday.

Three applicants decided not to give presentations, and two others withdrew grant requests totaling $315,000, said Karlene Fine, executive director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which administers the fund.

Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, who sponsored the bill that created the Outdoor Heritage Fund last session, said he wasn’t surprised by the number of applications but was “kind of surprised by the type.”

“There seemed to be a pretty heavy amount of research and development kinds of things, and I think that wasn’t part of what we were looking at anyway,” said Porter, who will speak to the board Monday about the legislative intent of House Bill 1278.

The fund was established to provide grants to state agencies, tribal governments, political subdivisions and nonprofit organizations to support projects related to fish and wildlife habitat, conservation, farming and ranching and recreation.

The advisory board will score the applications and make recommendations for the Industrial Commission to consider at its Jan. 29 meeting. The commission is made up of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

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