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The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks (GFP) and the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) want people aware of laws governing when mowing of highway right-of-way ditches can begin.

Abutting landowners on state highways are given preference to mow right-of-way ditches. Anyone else who wants to mow must obtain a waiver from the abutting landowner, according to a joint news release

Anyone who wants to mow interstate highway right-of-way ditches must apply for a permit, preference will be given to abutting landowners. Anyone else who wants to mow must also obtain a waiver from the abutting landowner. The permit application and waiver are available at: www.sddot.com/resources/forms/.

The rule was adopted partially to protect pheasant hens seeking suitable nesting locations. 

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Pheasant production is diminished when ditches are mowed prior to completion of nesting activity. Incubating hens nearing their hatch dates can be struck and killed by mowing equipment.

Hens and newly-hatched broods remain susceptible to mowing equipment for another two weeks after hatching due to the restricted mobility of chicks and the tendency of the hens and chicks to hide from approaching danger rather than escaping it.

For further questions regarding ditch mowing regulations, contact the DOT at 605-773-3265.

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