Ducks Unlimited conservation has holistic approach

South Dakota's comprehensive conservation benefits people and wildlife

McPherson County, SD, ranch has improved its grass management with rotational grazing and help from DU.

McPherson County, SD, ranch has improved its grass management with rotational grazing and help from DU.

Ducks Unlimited will be sharing weekly updates on recent and future conservation projects in South Dakota. The updates will show DU takes a holistic approach to conservation and develops relationships with the people who live on this landscape so important to North Americas Waterfowl. Comprehensive conservation benefits all people and wildlife.

In McPherson County, a rancher will now have more acres of grass and additional fencing to better manage grassland and wetland habitat for wildlife and livestock.The project, located near Long Lake, included the installation of 5,000 feet of barbed wire cross-fence to facilitate rotational grazing practices on associated native prairie. 

Grazing rotations allow higher densities of cattle over sho rter periods of time, mimicking the natural cycle of bison grazing in past centuries. This practice provides some pastures with 6 weeks or more of undisturbed nesting and foraging habitat for waterfowl, as well as many other grassland and wetland birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Research has shown managed rotation of livestock increases plant diversity for wildlife, rebuilds soil structure, enhances carbon sequestration and will produce more pounds of beef per acre. This project is an example of an ideal landowner-conservation partnership.

The rancher's new fence transformed three 320-acre pastures into six 160-acre pastures.The newly fenced pastures will be incorporated into a rotational livestock grazing system that will now include 14 separate pastures over a broad 1,500-acre grazing system. In 2020, ten additional acres of nutrient depleted cropland will be seeded to native grasses and forbs included in the grazing rotation.

To discover more about DU’s diverse conservation work in North America: https://www.ducks.org/wetland-conservation 

Find out how you can continue your support of our mission: https://www.ducks.org/get-involved