Funding Available to Improve Sharp-tailed Grouse Habitat

Funding Available to Improve Sharp-tailed Grouse Habitat
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has partnered with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks to develop a conservation program for producers aimed at improving habitat for a wildlife species native to South Dakota, the sharp-tailed grouse. The program is called Conservation Implementation Strategy and is a special project within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The program’s goal is to enhance grassland habitat within the counties of Campbell, Codington, Day, Deuel, Edmunds, Grant, Marshall, McPherson, Roberts and Walworth through improvements to grazing management, grass plantings, and invasive plant control.
Sharp-tailed grouse are grassland birds requiring large, continuous grassy areas for nesting and lekking (dancing of the males for the females). Grouse seek to nest in grass that is approximately 12 inches tall, but too much litter on the ground from old grass is not beneficial for chicks as they walk along the ground. Grouse eat insects, seeds, grain, berries, rosehips, and leaves.
Habitat enhancements can be made by developing or improving a rotational grazing system. This system can promote more evenly distributed grazing within pastures, which encourages plant diversity, and could help prevent or decrease a thick grass litter layer. Grazing should be managed to leave adequate grass height for grouse and resting one pasture per year is recommended.
This conservation program can help facilitate a rotational grazing system by providing cost-share for installing fences and livestock water tanks and pipeline. Other activities that can be cost-shared include controlling invasive weeds and trees, prescribed burning, planting food plots or season-long cover crops, and converting cropland to grassland. Shelterbelts can house predators, so old tree belts and woody debris can be planned for removal.
Producers interested in this program should contact NRCS at their local USDA Service Center. For Grant County, call the Milbank USDA Service Center at (605) 432-6570 ext. 3 to fill out an application by January 21. NRCS staff will work with applicants to develop a conservation plan, which will then be ranked and will compete with other applications. Please reach out with any questions and to get started on developing a conservation plan. 



Grant County Review

Grant County Review
P.O. Box 390
Milbank, SD 57252
(605) 432-4516

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