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    BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Petroleum Council today presented the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) with a check for $10,000 for the Byron Richards Ranch project, a tract of about 22,000 acres of rugged terrain near Beach, N.D. that will be rehabilitated and enrolled into the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s (NDGF) Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program. The project is the largest of its kind in the history of the PLOTS program and will support the MDF and NDGF’s efforts to help landowners improve habitat and access to the outdoors.


    Marshall Johnson, Regional Director for the MDF, attended the NDPC’s 35th Annual Meeting to accept the donation.


    “This gift will be a great help in our efforts to rehabilitate this critical habitat and open more land up to sportsmen and women,” said Johnson. “We realized many years ago that achieving our conservation goals requires partners, and we made it a point to work with landowners, ranchers and farmers, the energy industry and others to identify and develop projects such as this. The result has been nothing short of a win-win-win for all parties as these projects come to fruition.”


    Habitat improvement work began earlier this summer with the help of $480,000 in funds from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which is supported by oil and gas production tax revenues, as well as monetary and in-kind donations from Doosan/Bobcat, Hess Corporation, JMAC, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and XTO Energy. The MDF and NDGF worked together to develop the project, which will remain in the PLOTS program for 10 years giving sportsmen access to elk, mule deer, turkeys, pheasants, grouse, antelope and more. Previously, the area had never been open to the public.


    “We’re excited to be a partner in this historic project,” said Ron Ness, president of the NDPC. “Many of us in the industry cherish our hunting heritage and traditions. The work by the Mule Deer Foundation and the generous use of land on behalf of the landowner show that ag, energy and conservation can coexist, and we can all work together to improve and preserve habitat and our traditions for future generations, all while developing our rich natural resources.”


    The NDPC’s donation came from proceeds from its annual Energy of North Dakota Fishing Derby, which is a charitable event that raises funds for habitat and conservation projects. Since it’s inauguration, the derby has raised more than $80,000 for various projects.


    For more information about the Richards Ranch Project, visit https://muledeer.org/mule-deer-foundation-spearheads-plots-addition/.


    About MDF

    The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved atwww.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.


    About the North Dakota Petroleum Council

    Since 1952, the Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 500 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. For more information, go to www.ndoil.org.



    Media Contact:

    Tessa Sandstrom

    Communications Manager

    ND Petroleum Council


    [email protected]