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Wildlife

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Producers surveying a rangeland site.

Natural Resources & Conservation

South Dakota is home to many unique land, water and wildlife resources. Our experts and partners offer research-based information through to help people enjoy, preserve and profit from these natural resources.

Rangeland and Soil Days attendees observing a grassland area.

39th annual Rangeland and 18th annual Soil Days set for June 14-15 in Watertown

March 20, 2023

SDSU Extension, Codington Conservation District and South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service are hosting Rangeland Days and Soil Days on June 14-15 in Watertown, South Dakota.

Rangeland and Soil Days attendees observing a grassland area.
Jun 14

Rangeland and Soils Days @ Watertown

Join SDSU Extension, the Codington Conservation District, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service South Dakota for the 2023 Rangeland and Soils Days Annual competitions on June 14 and 15 in Watertown.

Grassland with a large amount of dried brush and fuel for burning.

Removing Young Trees From Grasslands Will Save Money and Effort

Volunteer trees can hinder the development of desirable wildlife habitat and livestock resources. Early control of volunteer woody species is the simplest and most cost-effective option for maintaining open grassland habitats.

Prescribed burn taking place in a pasture.

Fire as a Management Tool

When planned for and implemented appropriately fire is a tool that can have tremendous benefits to your grassland community.

Small herd of mixed cattle grazing rangeland in late fall.

Producer Views on Patch Burn Grazing vs. Winter Patch Grazing in S.D.

Traditional rangeland management promotes uniform forage utilization, yet causes detrimental effects on the richness of plant species and wildlife habitat. Therefore, management practices that increase heterogeneity in vegetation play an important role in developing diverse habitat types and preserving grassland wildlife species.

Small herd of mixed cattle grazing rangeland in late fall.

S.D. Producers’ Willingness To Adopt Patch Burn Grazing vs. Winter Patch Grazing

Patch-burn grazing and winter patch grazing are heterogenous rangeland management practices that aim to increase the diversity of grass composition to benefit wildlife and maintain livestock production. To learn about producers’ desire to adopt these practices, we conducted an online survey between November 2019 and January 2020.

A tiger swallowtail drinking nectar from a purple blazing star flower.

Five Range Management Principles: #3 Ecosystem Biodiversity

Milkweed can help make rangelands a better environment for both cattle and neighboring plants and animals by having a shielding effect on companion plants, preventing erosion and accelerating the decomposition process, whole also providing nectar, habitat and organic material for ecosystem services.

Pete Bauman speaking during a controlled burn workshop.

SDSU Extension Field Specialist Named Wildlife Professional of the Year

May 25, 2022

Pete Bauman, SDSU Extension Natural Resources and Wildlife Field Specialist, received the Wildlife Professional of the Year award from the South Dakota Chapter of The Wildlife Society at its annual meeting held March 3, 2022.

Group of Rangeland and Soils Day competitors observing grassland conditions during the competiton.

Judging South Dakota Rangelands for Livestock and Wildlife Values

Guide for judging South Dakota rangelands for livestock and wildlife values