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STANLEY -- Northwestern North Dakota counties, sometimes starved for rain, that are participating in weather modification hope to work with a 2018 budget that is similar to last year, despite less money from Ward County.

Cloud seeding is funded with state and participating county dollars.

Hank Bodmer of Kenmare, chairman of the Ward County Weather Modification Authority, said the North Dakota Atmospheric Resource Board's District II meeting in Stanley on Tuesday, included discussion on the Ward County Commission's decision to reduce its contribution toward cloud seeding.

The commission budgeted $100,000, or $87,000 less than the county authority requested, after a group of rural residents questioned continued participation in the program.

Bodmer had warned commissioners in December that the funding cut would disrupt the weather modification district's funding formula for counties.

According to the Atmospheric Resource Board, the other four counties in the district agreed to a slight increase in funding for 2018 to make up for the shortfall. Ward, Williams, Burke, Mountrail and McKenzie counties make up District II.

The district considered various operational options at Tuesday's meeting.

"The one we all pretty much agreed on is one that we will be able to fund, so we are good to go," Bodmer said. "I think it's going to work out."

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He said the district did not budget for any possible extension of cloud seeding past the normal season of June through August, but neither has the program utilized an extension in recent years.

Carryover dollars from funds not spent last year also will be added to 2018 spending. The project came in under budget last year due to the lack of flight opportunities caused by the drought.

Last year, District II spent $730,021 or $78,616 less than anticipated.

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