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Private Lands Initiative - Landowner Programs

Working Lands

Cattle in frosty hills

Provides rental and access payments to landowners for maintaining and improving wildlife habitat, and implementing management activities that have a positive impact on wildlife habitat on active agricultural lands and working grasslands.

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CRP Access

Land in CRP

Provides financial and technical assistance to landowners establishing or maintaining wildlife habitat on USDA Conservation Reserve Program acres in exchange for public access.

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Wetland Reserve
Easement Incentive

Prairie wetland

Provides financial assistance to landowners establishing or maintaining wildlife habitat on USDA Wetland Reserve Easement acres in exchange for public access.

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Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program – Riparian Project

Riparian zone with fields on either side

Through the North Dakota Riparian Project CREP, federal and state resources are available for landowners to enroll in CRP in portions of SW North Dakota.

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Wildlife Food PLOTS
Seed Program

Worker pouring seed into disperser

This annual Department program offers free seed to landowners interested in planting wildlife food plots for pheasants.

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Meadowlark singing on post

Tapping into the collective insights, resources and efforts of conservation, agriculture and industry partners to enhance, restore and sustain native grasslands in North Dakota.

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Additional Programs

Outdoor Heritage Fund Logo

Outdoor Heritage Fund

North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund was established in 2013 to provide grants to state agencies, tribal governments, political subdivisions and nonprofit organizations to enhance conservation practices in the state.

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Grass Drills

Partnering with Soil Conservation Districts by providing cost share on grass drills to assist in planting grass to benefit wildlife, improve water quality and reduce soil erosion


Federal Conservation Programs

PLOTS can work in conjunction with federal programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program and Agricultural Conservation Easment Program including Wetland Reserve Easments.

Find Your Program

Contact a private lands biologist to learn which programs could most benefit your operation.

Private Lands Initiative

The mission of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is to protect, conserve and enhance fish and wildlife populations and their habitats for sustained public consumptive and nonconsumptive use. The Department’s Private Land Initiative is the primary mechanism for applying this mission onto the private landscape of North Dakota.

The Private Lands Initiative has three main goals:

  • Conservation of habitats for fish and wildlife populations
  • Provide landowners interested in wildlife conservation with cost share assistance for developing and protecting habitat
  • Provide the public with opportunities to access fish and wildlife resources on private land. The primary goal is habitat development and hunting access through the Private Land Open To Sportsmen program.

PLOTS provides financial and technical assistance to private landowners for habitat protection, enhancement and development. Landowners accepting assistance through PLOTS agree to allow public access for walk-in hunting. Payments and agreement lengths vary depending on type of agreement and land use.

Don't Just Take Our Word For It

Francis Krumm (left)

Francis Krumm

Enrolled in PLOTS Since 2015

""Land rental rates are competitive and their payment is always on time. You can lock in your rental rate for 10-15 years. We have seen a noticeable increase in wildlife, such as deer and pheasants. We even had a moose one winter. In the seven years since enrolling in the PLOTS, every hunter that has come onto our property has been respectable and courteous."

Tractor pulling equipment

Lowell Dayton

Enrolled in PLOTS Since 2002

"It's been 20 years that we've taken part in PLOTS and related programs. We've really enjoyed seeing plants and wildlife returning. Some of the sections haven't looked like this since I was much younger. I appreciate the low maintenance aspect which has helped make retirement easier. This was a Centennial Farm so it's a great way to keep the land in the family while still having it serve a useful purpose for conservation. Also enjoy having hunters passing through to try their luck, have a few regulars over the years that seem to keep coming back."

Shockman husband and wife

Clayton Shockman

Enrolled in PLOTS Since 2012

"It's great to give access to the public. I wish there was a lot more of it around. I haven't had any issues with people not taking care of the PLOTS piece I have enrolled, and believe the vast majority of hunters deserve access to hunt private land. I have noticed it is easy for a piece of ground to get over hunted and diminish people's opinions of publicly accessible land, but I do believe it's worth getting additional acres enrolled into PLOTS to provide more options to hunt and balance wildlife numbers on land more consistently."

Printable factsheet screenshot

Conservation PLOTS Program Factsheet and FAQ

The primary goal is habitat development and hunting access, primarily through the Conservation PLOTS program.