Second Century Habitat Program open for sign up
A key program of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Second Century Initiative is now available for landowner enrollment.
The Second Century Habitat Program is administered by the Second Century Habitat Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to wildlife habitat. The program provides a short-term working lands conservation alternative to cropping marginal lands.
Participants agree to establish perennial grassland cover that will benefit both wildlife and livestock on cropland acres for 5 years and receive free seed and a one-time $150/acre payment at the beginning of the contract.
After August 1st of the second growing season, participants can hay or graze the enrolled land annually between August 1 and March 1. Annual haying is limited to half the enrolled acres or the entire acreage can be hayed every other year.
All cropland located in eastern South Dakota, as well as in Stanley, Jones, Lyman, Tripp and Gregory counties are eligible for the program; with the primary focus being on saline soils, wet saturated bottoms and other less productive row-crop acres.
Interested landowners will work with habitat advisors to sign up for the program. Seed will be shipped directly to participating producers for free. The seed mix will consist of grasses and forbs that provide good wildlife habitat and livestock forage.
Participants in the Second Century Habitat Program will be responsible for seed bed preparation, planting and weed control and are encouraged to enroll areas adjacent to existing habitat.
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Second Century Habitat acres are not required to be open to public hunting, although these acres are eligible to be enrolled in the Game, Fish and Parks’ Walk-In Area or Controlled Hunting Access Program. Commercial, fee hunting establishments are not eligible for the program.
For more information on the Second Century Habitat Program, contact your local habitat advisor. This listing can be found online at habitat.sd.gov.
GFP Commission keeps sage grouse, Custer State Park antelope hunting closed
Following a Department recommendation, the GFP Commission concurred with the Department recommendation to keep the sage grouse hunting season closed in the state.
Survey efforts observed 60 male sage grouse on priority leks and 153 on all leks this spring. Guidelines within the management plan recommend that if less than 150 male sage grouse are counted on priority leks and fewer than 250 males are counted on all observed leks, the season will be closed.
South Dakota’s last sage grouse hunting season was in 2016.
The Commission also concurred with the Department recommendation to keep the Custer State Park antelope hunting season closed in 2019 and 2020. Antelope populations are below levels that would trigger a season recommendation.
Custer State Park’s last antelope hunting season was in 2016, where three hunters participated.