Plan now for habitat improvement projects

Carey Egeland Habitat Resource Biologist
Farm Forum

Sunshine and green, growing things are still months away, but now is the time to start planning habitat-improvement projects for next spring. Whether you are looking to plant trees, improve your grasslands or add food plots to your property, there are resources available to help you.

Projects like these not only help wildlife, but they can also be profitable to producers by improving soil health, promoting better grazing opportunities, or putting marginal acres into paying programs.

If you have an idea of a project already or just want more information, the best place to start is the Habitat Pays website at habitat.sd.gov. This website will give you information about cost-share programs, ways to get into contact with habitat advisors and landowner success stories.

Perhaps the best way to get started is to stop in or call the habitat advisor closest to you. They will be able to inform you and enroll you in federal and state programs from the USDA, FSA, NRCS and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks involving the cost share, rental payments and easements.

Another great source of information and implementation of projects is getting in contact with your local conservation district. There are 69 conservation districts located around South Dakota, and they have specialty rental equipment and expertise from years of experience to help get your project done right.

Planning a habitat-improvement project can be a daunting process that takes time and planning, but there are many programs and people in place to help you get your project done quickly and effectively. The time is now to get started on your project for next growing season.