In South Dakota we are very fortunate to have many diligent and able natural resource workers in every agency, from the Game Fish and Parks, to the County Conservation Associations. Their work has helped preserve the natural beauty of our state, from the majestic rolling prairies to the beautiful Black Hills, we are truly blessed. We owe a debt of gratitude to them and the farmers and ranchers who carefully work the land to ensure survival of South Dakota’s native ecosystems.
I saw an article by in the DeSmet News, about methods of caring for our environment. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of natural habitat to South Dakota flora and fauna. In contrast to popular opinion, native prairies are the most endangered ecosystems in the world, not the rain forests of South America (they remain endangered however). Here in South Dakota we enjoy much of what the prairies have to offer regarding the hunting of upland game birds, recreational opportunities like hiking and bird watching, or their simple aesthetic beauty.
Presently, wind energy developments and high grain prices are making preservation efforts less economical to farmers, ranchers, and other landowners. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land is in danger of being lost…once we lose native habitat, we can never get it back. The habitats of eastern South Dakota consist largely of wetlands and prairies that must not be altered, fragmented, or overdeveloped. This will endanger the flora and fauna species who call such places home. While development is important economically, we must also take care of the natural environment.
As South Dakotans, we have derived our heritage from the land; together we can make bold efforts in preservation and conservation of the natural beauty and resources of this great state.