South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) have had a long and highly successful history working with private landowners to develop wetland and grassland habitat within the PPJV. GFP private lands staff works cooperatively with farmers and ranchers to better manage wetland and grassland habitats through the department’s Wetland and Grassland Habitat Program. Private lands biologists located across the state work with landowners – primarily producers engaged in grass-based livestock operations – to plan and implement a variety of on-the-ground conservation practices. Technical and financial assistance is provided for the following practices:
Wetland Restorations Wetland Creations and Enhancements Water Development Grassland Restorations Grassland/Grazing Enhancements Riparian Pastures Wildlife Friendly Fence
During 2014 GFP private lands biologists completed 75 projects with private landowner cooperators to enhance or restore 9,870 acres of upland habitat and 18 acres of wetland habitat within the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture portion of South Dakota. GFP’s cost share totaled nearly $399,524. GFP also acquired 2 properties for $320,000, leading to the protection of 189 acres of upland and 128 acres of wetland habitat.
Cooperative efforts with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, local conservation districts, and others are also important to efficiently and effectively deliver program funds through partnerships.