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  • dbuechler


The Outdoor Heritage Fund began in 2013 and was established to provide grants to state agencies, tribal governments, political subdivisions, and nonprofit organizations, with higher priority given to projects that enhance conservation practices. Since its inception, OHF grants have proven valuable to a variety of projects on both private and public land. The OHF is funded from oil and gas production tax revenue and though that money supports projects such as access to public and private lands for sportsmen, farming and ranching stewardship practices for stronger soil and cleaner water, fish and wildlife habitat improvements and creation and maintenance of outdoor recreation areas.

The OHF brings together a diverse group of stakeholders including agriculture groups, conservation groups, a variety of energy interests, and the public.

OHF projects have benefited every county in North Dakota. The last grant cycle awarded over $11.5 million to projects across the state and with every project requiring at least a 25% match from outside partners, the impact on the landscape gets maximized.

That means rotational grazing systems can be implemented to restore grasslands on private ground. It means scattered parcels of degraded farmland can be restored back to grass. It means that pollinator plots that benefit both monarchs and pheasants get planted in the spring. And it means that the popular boat ramp that is in dire need of repair gets fixed. All in all, OHF projects have been effective in putting more habitat on the ground and enhancing access to hunters and anglers.

Here are four directives that will enhance conservation practices in this state:

A grant must address one of these four practices to qualify.

Providing access to private and public lands for sportsmen, including projects that create fish and wildlife habitat and provide access for sportsmen;

Improving, maintaining and restoring water quality, soil conditions, plant diversity, animal systems, and by supporting other practices of stewardship to enhance farming and ranching;

Developing, enhancing, conserving and restoring wildlife and fish habitat on private and public lands.

Conserving natural areas and creating other areas for recreation through the establishment and development of parks and other recreation areas.


Oliver, Morton and Grant County SCD have a joint grant thru the Outdoor Heritage Fund called OMG Grassland Improvement Project. Projected duration of project was 4 years from 2016-2019 but received and extension ending December 2021. Amount received was 900,000. The grant provided funding to assist producers in improving their grassland through grazing management. Practices including pasture/hay land plantings, pipelines, tanks, wells, alternate power, mainly solar and cover crops for aftermath grazing.

The Cass County Windbreak and Wildlife Planting Initiative which was funded by a grant thru the Outdoor Heritage Fund. Cass County received $50,000, project duration was 2 years in 2019 and 2020. This project by developing, restoring and conserving wildlife and fish habitat on private and public lands is very important to ensure the future for hunting and recreation in North Dakota. Habitat creation and enhancement is a great way to maintain populations of bird and game species. The project successfully planted 142,710 linear feet of trees and creating roughly 46 acres of wildlife habitat totally 21,786 trees planted.


Applications are submitted using the WebGrants portal at

Application deadlines will be posted on the Outdoor Heritage Fund website at

My advice is to give yourself at least 6 weeks to write a grant. That way you can write, receive feedback and revise.

The Fall 2021 application and deadline have not been finalized at the time of this writing.

I am happy to assist in the grant writing process.

Debbie Buechler

Program Manager

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