The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA), along with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGF), is seeking applications for the State Waterbank Program, a water management program. Up to $750,000 will be made available during this grant process. Funding has been made available through the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund. The NDDA and ND G&F are opening enrollment into the program throughout North Dakota. Farmers and ranchers in the state are highly dependent on conserving natural resources and they have the ability to be leaders in the environmental community. This working lands program will help farmers and ranchers continue and increase these benefits without adversely affecting their production.

    Purpose of the State Waterbank Program:

    • Conserve surface waters
    • Mutual benefits of landowner compensation and wetland conservation
    • Enhance wildlife habitat

    The State Waterbank Program will focus on managing water in wet conditions and compensating landowners for flooded acres and their surrounding areas that benefit wildlife. Eligible lands for the State Waterbank Program include flooded agricultural land, and naturally occurring wetlands, throughout the State of North Dakota. Waters described as a lacustrine system, or waters sharing characteristics of lakes, are not eligible.

    The goal of the State Waterbank program is to provide technical assistance and financial relief to those with inundated agricultural lands, as well as keep present water bodies stored to benefit wildlife, pollinators, and sportsmen of North Dakota.


    • Landowners statewide are eligible to participate in the program.
    • Total acres enrolled can range from 10 to 160 acres; total acreage of adjacent land must be at least equal to qualifying wetland acreage but may not exceed four times the acreage of the wetlands. Adjacent lands means lands bordering or within one-fourth mile of the wetland.
    • Landowners enter into agreements with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) for 5 or 10 year periods.
    • Draining or burning or otherwise changing the character of land included in the agreement with the exception of prescribed haying/grazing management plans, is not allowed except in emergencies or as part of an approved management plan.
    • Prescribed haying/grazing will be permitted by the Agriculture Commissioner, used to perform management with an approved /haying/grazing plan from July 5 – September 1.
    • Lessor covenants and certifies that Lessor currently owns the Property, including all hunting and fishing rights and privileges to the Property subject to this agreement, and that no easement, license, lease, or other interest granting, transferring, or divesting Lessor of these hunting and fishing rights and privileges exists.
    • Lessee covenants and certifies that Lessee has actual use and exclusive possession of the land subject to this agreement.
    • Lessor or Lessee covenants and certifies that, in regards to the property subject to this agreement, Lessor or Lessee is not a party to, and not receiving payments from, any other Federal, State, or conservation organization habitat, conservation or other land management agreement. Lessor or Lessee will notify the Department at least 60 days before Lessor or Lessee enters into any such agreement.
    • Eligible wetland and adjacent areas that are covered by a separate federal or state government easement may reduce payments at the commissioner's discretion.
    • Payment rates will be as follows:
      • $20/acre/year for wetland acres
      • $20/acre/year for non-tillable or pastureland upland acres
      • $40/acre/year for enrolled tillable/cropland seeded upland acres (grass or pollinator mix)
      • $2/acre/year for enrolled public access acres (not compensated by other programs)

    NDDA will also offer cost-sharing rates of up to $13.00/acre seed cost, towards a perennial grass seed mixture, and up to $40.00/acre seed cost, towards a perennial pollinator mixture for upland seeding projects incorporated in this program (click here for more information on seed mixes). Applicants may contact ND Game & Fish for additional cost-sharing opportunities for seed and planting assistance.


    • Cropland acres impacted by flooding
    • Parcels with clearly defined boundaries and fewer corners
    • 10 year agreements
    • Upland/Cropland acres enrolled to be seeded to grass or pollinator habitat mix
    • Upland acres enrolled to be managed (hay/graze)

    The State Waterbank Program application period is currently CLOSED.

    **Note: Application is located below under Forms. If application does not open in browser, please download to your computer to fill out.

For more information please contact Lukas Wagner at 701-328-1508 or