Private landowners play a critical role in caring for South Dakota’s nearly 100 thousand miles of streams and rivers explains Kris Dozark, an environmental scientist with the S.D. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (SD DENR).
Some examples of practices that help to improve water quality include the implementation of riparian buffers and grass waterways to reduce field sediment and nutrient run-off, preventing animal waste from entering waterways, grassland management practices, as well as various practices which help to increase infiltration rates. Cost-share projects which include these, and many others are underway across the state, including a project being administered by the SD Soil Health Coalition.
Dozark says the cost-share projects are a win-win – improving the state’s water quality and helping improve land values. “In many cases, 319 Watershed Projects solve a problem for agriculture producers. Whether the current feed yard is muddy most of the season or erosion is leading to land loss, once we mitigate the issues, cost-share dollars are spent helping the landowner get something they need, like concrete bunks or a drip irrigation system and water quality improves.”