Ducks Unlimited is restoring three important waterfowl habitat properties in Sanborn County. The 524-acre Summit Ag Fund property is seven miles southeast of Woonsocket and the 160-acre Bennett property is three miles northwest of Letcher. The 130-acre Ettswold property is four miles northwest of Letcher.
The properties and other DU land are open to public hunting this fall and included in the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Habitat Atlas.
This area of Sanborn County contains a rich network of wetland habitats that attract large numbers of breeding waterfowl when water conditions are suitable. These properties are located in the middle of the James River Lowlands; a landscape dotted with numerous, shallow wetland habitats.
"Sanborn County is very important to breeding waterfowl, and we hope improving the habitat on these two properties will lead to further opportunities to restore and protect other important waterfowl habitat in this area," said Steve Donovan, DU's South Dakota manager of conservation programs.
During wet years, this landscape attracts large numbers of breeding waterfowl. The James River Lowlands is located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), the most important waterfowl-breeding habitat in North America.
The Summit Ag Fund property contains more than 50 small, seasonal wetlands, most of which have been drained. DU will restore the wetlands and native prairie. Through its Revolving Lands Program, DU will protect the habitat with an easement and then sell the properties at public auction to a conservation-minded buyer.
Projects like these will play a key role in DU's ability to realize its long-term goals of protecting important waterfowl-breeding habitat in the PPR.