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Paul Flessland, Published February 26 2013

Clay County Pheasants Forever receives awards

MINNEAPOLIS – The Clay County chapter of Pheasants Forever received two awards at the recent National Pheasant Fest here.

The first award was for earning $1 million in conservation excellence, which is awarded to chapters that have contributed $1 million to local habitat and conservation projects.

“We’re humbled,” said Josh Krieg, president of Clay County’s Pheasants Forever chapter. “Not many chapters get this award.”

The second was for most improved banquet. This award goes to the chapter with the largest donations per person from one year to the next.

Krieg said the chapter has been able to grow because Clay County is mostly a rural area with abundant farmland, making it a prime environment for pheasants and quails.

One way the group has done this is by converting nonproductive farmland into areas for wildlife to thrive by planting and irrigating. With assistance from the state Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, these efforts not only help wildlife populations, but also help water retention and filtering, which Krieg said can be especially beneficial in times of flood.

“We are fortunate that we can do what we can do in our part of the state,” he said. The vast countryside provides ideal conditions for pheasant populations.

About a dozen awards were given to chapters throughout Minnesota for the 30th anniversary of the organization.

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson were also among the 28,855 in attendance.

Pheasants Forever is a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping improve and conserve habitats for wildlife across the country, primarily for pheasants and quail. There are more than 70 other chapters across Minnesota.

Clay County Pheasants Forever will host a banquet in Dilworth next month. All money raised will go toward environmental projects in Clay County.

“The money says local, and it shows,” Krieg said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Paul Flessland at (701) 241-5502