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  • Industry plants 58,000 trees through new programJune 1, 2018

    North Dakota is a little greener because of the oil and gas industry thanks to a program by the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) to fund large-scale habitat plantings throughout North Dakota. The Planting for the Future program kicked off on Thursday, May 10 and will wrap up planting this week. More than 58,000 trees and shrubs were planted in Emmons, Wells, Burleigh, Morton, Stark, Sheridan, Hettinger, Oliver, Mountrail, Dickey and Kidder counties.

    The program is a partnership with the Outdoor Heritage Fund, ONEOK, Whiting Petroleum and private landowners to plant 58,000 trees and shrubs this year that will help with conservation, soil preservation and habitat for deer, pheasants and other wildlife. Planting for the Future will provide the trees, shrubs, and planting and monitoring services, while landowners will offer planting assistance and other in-kind contributions to complete the planting.

    “This project is perfect for our companies who want to make a significant contribution toward habitat and conservation projects,” said Ron Ness, President of the NDPC. “In addition, it offers a great way for industry employees to take advantage of company volunteer-match programs, enjoy a day creating relationships with North Dakota landowners, and helping with projects that will enhance habitat for wildlife and preserve our hunting and outdoors traditions.”

    Planting for the Future was awarded $108,125 from the Outdoor Heritage Fund last fall. The project is expected to cost a total of $196,375. The NDPC share is supported by its Annual Bakken Classic Fishing Derby and donations from ONEOK and Whiting Petroleum. The program was supposed to span over three years, but the program was so successful that the program could plant 3,000 more trees in one year than its goal of 55,000 over three years. Both companies, as well as Bilfinger Westcon have recruited volunteers to help with the plantings.

    “This program is a hallmark example of what the Outdoor Heritage Fund was created to do,” said the OHF president Jim Melchoir. “With the concern of diminishing habitat, this fund was established to help organizations enhance conservation practices in the state. Planting for the Future brings together diverse individuals and organizations to help build critical habitat that will benefit future generations.”

    According to the North Dakota State Forest Service’s Biennial Forest Health Report, less than 2 percent of North Dakota’s land is forested and of that, about 68 percent of North Dakota’s forest land is privately owned, emphasizing the importance of private landowners in the management of North Dakota’s forest resources.

    “From a landowner perspective, this program offers a simple, flexible and effective way to create habitat and conserve our natural resources while also respecting individual landowners’ needs, uses and property rights,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “This program is also unique in that it will require ownership and buy-in from each of the partners, requiring them to work together to ensure successful projects for years to come.”

    The program is open to accepting volunteers who wish to help with this environmental project and donations are being accepted for projects in 2019 and beyond.

    For more information about the project, visit NDOil.org/PlantingForTheFuture or contact Tessa Sandstrom at 701-223-6380.