Land, Water & Wildlife Article Archive

Effect of Oil & Natural Gas Development on White-tailed Deer Populations

Oil and natural gas extraction has expanded in Western North Dakota and Northwestern South Dakota in recent years. Research in Western states found that expanding oil and natural gas development can negatively impact many wildlife species, especially large mammals such as mule deer, elk, and pronghorn. No research has been completed on impacts of development on white-tailed deer, and white-tailed deer responses to expanding oil and natural gas development have been unknown.

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Winter Cereals Provide Nesting Habitat

Winter cereal grains, such as wheat and rye, can offer an alternative option for producers seeking to improve bird nesting habitat on cropland within their operations. Although they cannot replace the higher quality habitat provided by perennial grass stands, a study by South Dakota State University researchers found that winter wheat can provide favorable surrogate nesting and brood-rearing habitat for pheasants.

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Diversity and Partnerships are Keys to Preventing Endangered Species Impacts

South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers have significant influence on the management of our state’s natural resources, especially grasslands, water and the species that inhabit these areas. The continuing conversation on water quality and buffer strips promises to serve as yet another reminder of the importance of natural resources management for the greater good.

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Beadle County Conservation District Demonstration Farm: Improving Soil Health

High saline soil on cropland is a growing concern for producers in the Dakotas, especially in the James River Valley. The Beadle County Conservation District is tackling this issue through their demonstration farm by showcasing alternative farming practices. In the 1990s, the Beadle County Conservation District acquired approximately 400 acres of crop land just south of Huron, SD.

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Scouting for Grasshoppers in South Dakota Rangeland

As summer progresses, the number of adult grasshoppers observed in South Dakota rangeland typically increases. Based on current reports, it would seem that 2016 is following this trend. If grasshopper populations reach high enough densities they can be very destructive to rangeland. For this reason, it is important to monitor grasshopper populations so management actions can be taken before economic damage occurs.

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South Dakota’s Prairie Potholes are Important for Spring Migrating Ducks

Prairie pothole wetlands are so important to ducks that the area where they’re found, which comprises portions of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and southern Prairie Canada, is commonly called North America’s Duck Factory. Together with the native grasslands that often surround prairie potholes, these ecosystems play host to nearly half of all the nesting ducks counted in North America annually.

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Drought

As South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and communities deal with the challenges brought on by drought conditions impacting more than half the state, SDSU Extension is connecting individuals with resources and research-based information.

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SDDA Sensitive Site Registry: Protecting sensitive areas from chemical drift

The SD Dept. of Ag. recently announced updates to the Sensitive Site Registry. First launched in 2013, the Sensitive Site Registry is designed for producers and applicators (private and commercial) to better understand where chemical and fertilizer drift and misapplications are to be avoided. This registry has the potential to be an excellent tool in fostering positive communications between those who apply chemicals and those who are concerned with drift, and SDDA specifically created the registry to provide information about farms and ranches that would be adversely affected by accidental fertilizer or pesticide application or drift.

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Understanding Conservation Easements

Conservation easements are a common, yet often misunderstood, real estate transaction tool. This article is intended to provide factual information regarding the rules and regulations that govern the use of conservation easements in South Dakota. Source citations include references to both direct sources and compilations that include additional references to law, case law, and easement publications.

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SDSU Survey on Land Use Decisions Highlights Role of Grasslands

The issue of land use and grassland conversion to croplands remains a central topic in the agriculture and natural resources arenas. Generally speaking, grassland conversion is described in two primary ways, the first being conversion…or re-conversion…of ‘tame’ grasslands such as Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres and old tame grass hayfields and pastures to row-crop agriculture.

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