SOUTH DAKOTA — The National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) South Dakota State Chapter budgeted $34,600 from its state Hunting Heritage Super Fund to invest in outreach, education, conservation, increased public land access and other projects in 2011.
The NWTF Super Fund is administered jointly by the NWTF, its state and provincial chapters and wildlife agencies, and supports conservation and education programs.
Since 1985, NWTF chapters in South Dakota have raised and spent more than $778,230 on wildlife habitat enhancements, land purchases, education, outreach and more within the state. NWTF chapters and cooperating partners across North America have raised and spent more than $331 million upholding hunting traditions and conserving nearly 16 million acres of wildlife habitat.
“The South Dakota State Chapter is dedicated to improving land access and wildlife habitat, and is backing up their commitment with the funds to make needed changes,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., the NWTF’s chief conservation officer. “By directing dollars to land access and wildlife habitat improvements, and strengthening outreach and education programs, the South Dakota State Chapter is helping enhance habitat for all kinds of wildlife while making a better outdoor experience, not just for hunters – but for everyone.”
The targeted projects approved by the South Dakota State Chapter Super Fund Committee and Board of Directors include:
- $12,500 to uphold outdoor traditions through the NWTF’s JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship), Women in the Outdoors and Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach programs, educational programs, Wild About Turkey Education Boxes and scholarships for youth. This includes $1,000 to help fund the South Dakota Outdoor Expo and $1,250 to support participants in the South Dakota Wildlife Federation’s Youth Conservation Camp.
- $7,500 to support the NWTF’s Regional Biologist Program. This funding will be matched on an annual basis with $15,000 in South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks (SDGFP) funding. The NWTF regional biologist works with state and local officials to improve wildlife habitat, promote North America’s hunting heritage and provide outreach opportunities.
- Project Partners: SDGFP, North Dakota Game & Fish Department, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming NWTF state chapters
- $3,000 to support the NWTF’s Northern Plains Riparian Restoration Initiative (NPRRI) for projects in the state
- Project Partners include: There are numerous past and present partners involved with the NPRRI in South Dakota, including: SDGFP, BLM, US Forest Service, Tatanka Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D), Black Hills RC&D, several conservation districts in western South Dakota and private landowners
- $3,000 to conduct timber stand improvement projects and other wildlife habitat stewardship projects on the BLM’s Fort Meade National Recreational Area near Sturgis, S.D.
- Project Partner: BLM – Belle Fourche Field Office
- $2,500 to help build the new SDGFP Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City, S.D. The chapter made a two-year commitment worth $5,000 for this new building.
- Project Partners include: SDGFP, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pheasants Forever, Black Hills Sportsmen’s Club, Safari Club International, Scheels Sports, Black Hills Fly Fishermen, Black Hills Ammo and Ducks Unlimited
- $2,500 to bolster riparian restoration efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Fort Randall Dam near Wagner, S.D. The goal of this project is to remove invasive eastern red cedars from existing cottonwood stands to promote a healthy riparian area, which is an area near a river or stream utilized by wildlife. Project Partner: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- $1,000 to help purchase a native grass seed drill for the Perkins County Conservation District in northwest South Dakota
- Project Partners include: Perkins County Conservation District and Pheasants Forever
- $1,000 to help the Hanson County Conservation District purchase a seed drill to plant native grass
- Project Partners include: Hanson County Conservation District and Pheasants Forever
- $750 to install winter food plots and mast-producing trees and shrubs on private lands for landowners who winter wild turkeys
- Project Partners: private landowners, SDGFP, Farm Service Agency and the NRCS
- $500 to establish fall food plots on the Happy Home Game Production Area (GPA) that is owned and operated by SDGFP. Food plots are designed to provide forage for wintering wild turkeys to increase sportsmen opportunity and decrease landowner conflicts by keeping wild turkeys on the GPA when possible.
- Project Partner: SDGFP
- $250 to support the statewide South Dakota Youth Range Camp, which teaches youth about range management practices and identification of common range plants and wildlife species found in the state
- Project Partners: private landowners, SDGFP, Farm Service Agency and NRCS
- $100 to continue supporting the SDGFP’s annual Bald Eagle Awareness Day. This is the third year the NWTF South Dakota State Chapter has supported this educational day. Project Partners include: SDGFP