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South Dakota Projects

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Revolving Land Strategy Protects Native Prairie

Proceeds from the sale of part of DU's Goebel Ranch in South Dakota are being reinvested to conserve more native prairie nesting habitat for waterfowl.

South Dakota: Goebel Ranch

The Goebel Ranch is located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region and is nestled in a portion of the Missouri Coteau where, on average, more than 100 pairs of ducks per square mile settle and breed each year. The ranch and surrounding prairie landscape contain thousands of shallow, seasonal wetlands that are ideal for duck production.

West River Wetland Development Projects

During 2006 DU, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks initiated a project to develop wetlands habitat on private lands in western South Dakota. A number of potential wetland sites have been reviewed and the first project site (in Bennett County) will be developed in the spring of 2007.

Butte-Lawrence Counties Conservation District Wetland Development

DU has worked cooperatively with the Butte-Lawrence Counties Conservation District and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for several years developing wetlands in western South Dakota. During the recent two years 23 wetland impoundments totaling 111.3 acres were created or restored on private lands owned by 18 separate landowners in Butte and Lawrence counties.

Mellette/Jackson Counties Conservation Districts Wetland Development

DU was a funding partner with Mellette and Jackson Counties Conservation Districts, South Dakota Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks and 10 landowners in the creation and restoration of 14 wetland impoundments in Mellette and Jackson Counties. The wetlands total 30.4 acres and are situated in large blocks of grassland used for livestock pasture.

Schurr/Stoner Complex

This wetland grassland complex owned and managed by DU is located west of Ipswich in Edmunds County. Native grasses were seeded on 480 acres on this property last spring as part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and another 160 acres of native grasses were seeded on160 acres as part of WRP.

South Dakota Agronomy Project

Incentives were paid on 1,094 acres of winter cereals to 12 agriculture producers in Day County in 2006. The 2005 winter wheat crop was severely impacted by fusarium head blight or scab.

Threatened Habitats Project

DU initiated cooperation with the North American Wetlands Conservation Act Council, U.S. fish and Wildlife Service and other partners on this long-term landscape project in 21 south central South Dakota counties five years ago. Objectives of the project are to protect, restore, and enhance wetland and grassland habitats and create wetlands habitat in the large project area.

Swenson Property

DU purchased the 400-acre Swenson Property in 2003 and continues to restore and manage habitat on the tract. During this past year 390 acres were enrolled in the USDA Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Wetland Development Project

DU completed phase 6 of this cooperative wetland development project with the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. In this phase three new wetlands were created totaling 8 surface acres.

Goebel Ranch and DU holdings

Ducks Unlimited's Goebel Ranch in South Dakota is a successful example of what a large expanse of native prairie can do for ducks, cattle and people. The 9,455-acre working ranch is a breeding duck's paradise, with wetlands surrounded by lush grasslands. In 2011, DU sold 7,300 acres of the ranch and will reinvest the funds in the revolving land program.

Ingle and LeClaire production areas

Ducks Unlimited provided funding to restore native grasses on two Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA). They are owned and managed by the USFWS and are situated in the James River Lowlands in Beadle County near Huron.

Winter Cereals Program

Farmer enrollments in Ducks Unlimited’s Winter Cereals Program has grown from 1,100 the program’s first year to over 8,000 acres this year. DU provides a $7 an acre incentive to producers for up to 150 acres, under three year contracts. Research indicates winter cereal crops, such as winter wheat, provide nesting cover that helps produce 35 times more ducks than spring seeded crops.

Mark White Wetland Development

Ducks Unlimited is a partner in a project to develop shallow wetlands. The USFWS initiated this NAWCA-funded project, Threatened Habitats, in 21 central South Dakota counties.

Tallgrass Prairie Conservation Initiative

Ducks Unlimited has initiated a habitat improvement partnership with six east central South Dakota Conservation Districts to address grassland loss and poor range condition in the Tallgrass Prairie ecozone. Other partners in the project include the South Dakota Conservation Commission, SDDGFP, USFWS, and many private landowners.

Todd Cowan Tract

Ducks Unlimited, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, purchased the 960-acre Todd Cowan Tract as an addition to the 1,4000-acre June Harter Waterfowl Production Area. The Hyde County property, southwest of Highmore, contains 782 acres of native prairie, 52 acres of wetlands habitat and 52 acres of cropland The wetlands habitat includes three earthen dam impoundments situated on Chapelle Creek and numerous prairie pothole wetlands scattered across the tract.

James River Lowlands - Missouri Coteau NAWCA Project

Ducks Unlimited received a $970,000 grant from the North American Wetlands Conservation Council to help fund the acquisition of perpetual grassland and wetland easements on Prairie Pothole habitat in South Dakota. This grant specifically identified Hyde and Hand Counties as focus areas because of its importance for northern pintail production.

DU Acquires Showalter Property on Missouri Coteau

Nancy Showalter sold her 240-acre Hyde County, SD, property to Ducks Unlimited because she wanted to see her family’s native prairie preserved and the livestock heritage of the area sustained. DU purchased the Showalter property because other potential buyers would have converted the prairie to cropland and nearly eliminated the waterfowl and wildlife value of this area that is particularly attractive to pintails.

Bown Tract

An important duck-breeding habitat in central South Dakota will remain in grassland and wetlands forever, thanks to an acquisition made in December by Ducks Unlimited.

South Dakota Conservation Projects

Ducks Unlimited habitat conservation projects in South Dakota. These projects benefit waterfowl, other wildlife and people. View sample projects, project map and more.
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