North Dakota game and fish

Landowners in southwestern North Dakota are again able to enroll in the state Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a new signup period in early December.

In addition, USDA also announced an open signup for the general Conservation Reserve Program, which is open until Feb. 29.

The North Dakota Riparian Project CREP, first offered in spring 2017, allows states to identify resource concerns and design custom-built projects along riparian areas.

“Over a 10-year period, approximately $19 million in federal funds from the USDA Farm Service Agency can be used to provide annual rental, incentive and cost-share payments for filter strips, riparian buffers, or pollinator and honeybee habitat,” according to Kevin Kading, private land section supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The state will contribute more than $4.3 million, which is funded from the Game and Fish Private Land Open To Sportsmen program, and the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.

“We’ve worked a long time developing these projects with USDA, and working with other partners and stakeholders,” Kading said. “We feel these are good options for landowners to address a resource concern, and also open up some quality habitat for hunters.”

Landowners interested in CREP can enroll acres in portions of Adams, Billings, Bowman, Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, Grant, Golden Valley, Hettinger, McKenzie, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux, Slope and Stark counties. The statewide enrollment cap for this program is 20,000 acres.

Expired, or expiring CRP is not eligible for the North Dakota Riparian Project CREP at this time, Kading said. Land offered must meet FSA cropping history requirements and be located within the project boundary.

There is no minimum acreage requirement for enrolling land into CREP, but any land enrolled in a CREP contract with USDA must also be enrolled in the Game and Fish PLOTS program. Kading said landowners don’t have to allow public access to their entire property, but the PLOTS tract must be at least 40 acres in size.

Landowners will receive payments for allowing walk-in hunting access, and are eligible for additional habitat enhancements, incentives and cost-share.

For information regarding the project, landowners should contact a local Game and Fish private land biologist or their local county USDA service center.

Winter Anglers Reminded to Clean Up Ice

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.

In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.

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