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Funding boost for wetland conservation South Dakota

Funding boost for wetland conservation South Dakota

By Scout Nelson

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of South Dakota is excited to provide a significant funding opportunity aimed at wetland preservation and enhancement.

This initiative, supported by a $2 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is part of the Water Bank Program (WBP) targeted at landowners in the Prairie Pothole Region, which includes parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

The WBP is designed to address multiple environmental and agricultural challenges. Its goals are diverse: preserving vital wetland habitats for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife, conserving surface water, reducing soil and wind erosion, aiding flood control, improving water quality, enhancing subsurface moisture, and boosting the natural beauty of the landscape.

Participating landowners will benefit financially from the program. The NRCS offers a per-acre payment that varies by land type: $50 for cropland, $35 for pastureland, and $20 for forestland. These payments are part of a 10-year nonrenewable rental agreement that prioritizes areas most affected by flooding.

Priority levels are assigned based on the potential impact and type of land use: cropland with high flood impact is given the highest priority, followed by pasture, hay, and range lands with medium flood impact, and forest and other lands with lower flood impact.

This program is a proactive step toward sustainable land management and environmental conservation, reflecting the NRCS's commitment to supporting landowners in their efforts to manage land responsibly.

It also represents an essential measure in combating the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable ecosystems.

By participating in the Water Bank Program, landowners not only contribute to the long-term health of their land but also gain financial incentives that make sustainable practices more feasible.

This effort is a win-win for both the environment and local landowners, ensuring that the Prairie Pothole Region remains a thriving ecosystem for future generations.

Photo Credit -pexels-ron-lach

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Categories: South Dakota, General, Government & Policy

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