Pheasants Forever endorsed the recommendations offered by the Habitat Work Group formed by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard to address the state’s pheasant declines. At the same time, the organization joined Governor Daugaard in calling for a long-term dedicated conservation fund to adequately execute the plan’s major initiatives. As indicated in the report, funding for conservation is the critical hurdle to successfully achieving the plan’s habitat goals.
“Conservation takes commitment, and while the Governor’s leadership and this group’s hard work are a great start, it will only be successful with adequate long-term funding,” said Dave Nomsen, leader of Pheasants Forever’s new regional headquarters in Brookings. “We have a plan, and now that plan needs financial backing. We appreciated hearing the Governor articulate the need for that substantial funding.”
The organization commended the report’s recommendation for stronger collaboration with local, state, federal and non-profit partner stakeholders. The report also properly emphasized the need to work with farmers and agricultural groups to find ways to make conservation more economically competitive. To that end, the plan focused on better utilizing the conservation tools already in place, but noted the need to fund those programs better.
South Dakota has lost more than 1.8 million combined acres of grassland and prairie habitat since 2006 – having a direct long-term impact on bird populations in what many regard as the pheasant capital of the world. “Everyone involved with the Governor’s office and the Work Group acknowledges the state’s quarter of a billion dollar pheasant industry is worth a substantial and long-term investment.” said Nomsen.
“I was also impressed with Chairwoman Pam Robert’s comments about the report. Her vision for each of these eight recommendations demonstrated the width and depth of the group’s thinking as they approached the state’s complex habitat landscape,” added Nomsen. “The complete menu for South Dakota pheasant’s needs includes ingredients for annual land management, short-term contracts, long-term easements and acquisitions.”
Nomsen added Pheasants Forever’s focus now turns to examining the areas where the organization can plug their expertise into the Work Group’s plans to help achieve the state’s goals, while also seeking out ways to augment their habitat efforts.
About Pheasants Forever in South Dakota
South Dakota’s 32 Pheasants Forever chapters account for 6,000 members statewide. Those chapters have spent $4.8 million to complete 24,000 habitat projects since the first South Dakota chapter formed in Minnehaha County in 1985. Those projects have improved 360,000 acres for wildlife.
Bob St. Pierre (651) 209-4931
Image courtesy Pheasants Forever