The Cavalier County Weed board along with the county commission and water board held a joint meeting with two representatives from the North Dakota Game and Fish and U.S. Fish and Wildlife to discuss ways that the two organizations can better work with local landowners.
By Melissa Anderson
Area landowners and producers numbered in the 30s to hear and ask questions of the two departments. The departments explained where their lands are located, how they are managed and what management practices are decided to be used on those properties.
A lot of the concern that was voiced had to do with departments not maintaining the properties in regards to mowing ordinances held by the townships and county. This creates problems for landowners that own land in close proximity to the departments’ properties.
Another issue was the natural drains that run through the lands managed by the departments. Many landowners expressed discontent with how those waterways are being managed, allowing very tall cattails to grow, in some cases over 10 feet high, and the build up of silt causing a back flow of water.
When asked why they do not better manage their lands and the natural drains, the departments responded that they do not have enough man power or money to combat the issues in all the areas that are being managed.
Overall, the landowners and producers were given the chance to ask their questions and voice their concerns over current managerial practices being used by the ND Game and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
“I believe the meeting went well,” Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson said, “We were able to re-establish communications between the two entities and the local farmers and ranchers, and I know we won’t be able to address all the complaints right away, but we are moving in the right direction. Communication is the key to success.”
Brian Prince with the ND Game Fish felt the meeting went extremely well.
“Some of these issues can be contentious, and I think everybody was very civil. A lot of information was disseminated and maybe some myths were cleared up,” Prince stated.
Based on what was discussed, Prince feels that landowners and the ND Game and Fish can work together to reach a point where everyone can be satisfied.
“A simple phone call can rectify a lot of these issues,” Prince said.
Matt Sprenger with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife echoed his state counterpart in feeling the meeting went well.
“We are willing to come to the table and see what the concerns are and work through those concerns as best we can. Obviously there are differing opinions on what the land should look like, but we can get past those grumblings and reach some common ground,” Sprenger said.
To contact either ND Game and Fish or U.S. Fish and Wildlife, both representatives recommended a Google search to find the correct district offices needed.