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Join South Dakota wetland initiative

Join South Dakota wetland initiative

By Scout Nelson

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in South Dakota has launched a significant initiative to preserve and enhance the wetlands of the Prairie Pothole Region, which spans South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

This effort is supported by a $2 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), aimed at enrolling landowners in the Water Bank Program (WBP).

The WBP is designed to address several environmental and aesthetic goals. These include the preservation of habitats for migratory waterfowl and wildlife, conservation of surface waters, reduction of soil and wind erosion, flood control enhancement, improvement of water quality, increase in subsurface moisture, and the overall beautification of the landscape.

Eligible landowners who participate in the program will receive financial compensation based on land type, with the following per acre payments offered:

  • $50 for cropland.
  • $20 for forestland.
  • $35 for pastureland, including non-cropped wetlands.

Participants will enter into a 10-year rental agreement with the NRCS, with the contracts being nonrenewable and categorized into three priority levels:

  • High priority: Cropland affected by flooding.
  • Medium priority: Pasture, hay, and rangelands affected by flooding.
  • Low priority: Forest and other lands affected by flooding.

Landowners in northeastern South Dakota who have land impacted by flooding across various usage types, including cropland, pastureland, hay land, rangeland, forestland, and other specified lands, are encouraged to apply. The application period is open from May 3, 2024, through May 31, 2024.

This funding opportunity aims to empower local landowners to contribute to ecological preservation efforts while receiving compensation for their commitment to maintaining and improving the natural environment.

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