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South Dakota's water quality concerns

South Dakota's water quality concerns

By Scout Nelson

South Dakota's water quality faces significant challenges, with most of its surface water failing to meet state standards. Nearly 80% of rivers and streams studied exhibit contamination, primarily from E. Coli and Total Suspended Solids.

The 2024 surface water quality report highlights the prevalence of pollutants, including those originating from riverbank erosion, agricultural runoff, and sewage overflows. Travis Entenman, managing director with Friends of the Big Sioux River, underscores the potential health risks associated with contaminated water, emphasizing the need for proactive measures to safeguard public health.

Efforts to address water quality issues in South Dakota include incentivizing voluntary actions by landowners to prevent runoff. Funding limitations pose challenges to implementing these initiatives effectively.

Entenman anticipates increased support from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which provides technical assistance to landowners, following funding allocations from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Projects aimed at improving water quality encompass various strategies, such as riparian buffers, waste management systems for livestock operators, and alternative practices for row-crop growers. Collaboration and participation from stakeholders are crucial in reducing water contamination and protecting aquatic ecosystems.

Addressing water quality concerns in South Dakota requires concerted efforts from policymakers, landowners, and environmental advocates. By implementing proactive measures and fostering collaboration, the state can work towards ensuring safe and sustainable water resources for future generations.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-zms

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Categories: South Dakota, General

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