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On July 20, 2015 the South Dakota Community Foundation board of directors will have to present a report detailing how the organization used $350,000. Legislature approved the funds and expected them to be used for wildlife habitat improvement.

House Bill 1192, was a request from Gov. Dennis Daugaard for funds which started at $1.5 million for habitat conservation. These funds would have been released when matched by private donors. However, due to poor private donations and state revenues being lower than expected, the amount was reduced to $350,000.

A letter of intent was approved by the Legislature’s Joint Committee Appropriations on Monday. It stated that the £350,000 will be held separately to the foundation’s endowment. Further to this, the money can only be used on a matching basis with private contributions.

They also want the foundation’s board of directors to amend the bylaws so they can reflect the requirements that were set in House Bill 1192.

The state auditor can draw warrants to pay funds that have been authorized by the Bureau of Finance and Management which has been made responsible for the funds. Once released, the funds can be spent immediately.

“I believe they already have the $350,000 match in place,” Sen. Larry Tidemann has recently stated.

The $1.5 million request was announced last year as part of his efforts to place pheasant repopulation at the top of the state’s efforts. The state has been regarded as the best place for pheasant hunting for the past two decades. However, recent declines in population threaten that crown and the $200 million economic input that the sport delivers to the state annually.

While the money will be spent efficiently, the $350,000 is a far cry from the original amount required. If the state can organize more donations, then this amount could be increased which would support more conservation efforts and help keep South Dakota the best pheasant hunting spot in the US.

Have you contributed to the fund? How much more money do you think conservationists need?

Let us know in the comments below.

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