Team Up to Get the Job Done
Teamwork, persistence, and patience made the Alice Waterfowl Production Area Wetland and Waterfowl Trail a reality.
Built to Americans with Disabilities Act specifications, the access trail, as well as the wildlife observation and hunting blinds, underscore how local nonprofit conservation groups can work with state and federal agencies on projects.
Cass County Wildlife Club members Jim Schmitt and Bill Radermacher, both of Casselton, N.D., offer advice from their experience:
Make certain the organization is fully dedicated to the project and willing to put in the time and potentially long-term effort necessary to see it to fruition.
- Identify funding sources — local, regional, and national — whose philanthropic mission befits the project. Such contributions help meet financial and in-kind service moneys necessary to qualify for state or federal agency grant programs, such as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Challenge Cost Share grants. Many financial institutions, for example, have foundations especially interested in assisting projects for people with disabilities.
- Good grant writers mean dollars. If possible, try to have someone proficient in grant-writing assist or write grant proposals and funding requests.
- Patience, especially in dealing with land acquisitions or title transfers, is an absolute necessity.
Prepare for unexpected costs and budget accordingly.
- Develop a detailed project proposal and provide accurate information to agencies and potential contributors. “Really, really have that thing (project proposal) down pat,” explained Radermacher.
- Be willing to make changes if necessary in order to comply with local, state or federal regulations.
- Factor in annual operation and maintenance expenses when budgeting, fundraising and designing a project.
- Be willing to listen, learn and work with agencies.
And maintain relationships...
In spring 2009, floods damaged much of southeastern North Dakota, including the Wetland and Waterfowl Trail on the Alice WPA. It’s important for local clubs to maintain good relationships with the agencies they worked with on a project, even after it’s complete. Eventually, wear over time, acts of God, or general upkeep may necessitate getting the team together again.