The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
Over 3,000 perennial plants and numerous annual plants were established in an area approximately 100' x 50'. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to visit the garden to see native prairie plants, try to identify some of the common butterflies of the area, and learn something new about butterflies of South Dakota.
As you arrive at Oahe Downstream's Welcome Center, you may notice a large informational kiosk to the south of the parking lot next to a trail to the garden.
One side of the kiosk has general information about butterflies, butterfly behavior, and butterfly gardening. The other side of the kiosk has identification information for 10 common South Dakota butterflies and 2 rare skippers.
What's in the Garden?
Seventeen South Dakota native perennial plants will be placed in 17 plots with 6 "clumps" of plants. Each "clump" is really made up of 36 individual plants of the same species. This type of grouping will encourage butterflies to linger in an area where the nectar is good. And shortens the flight distance to the next flowering clump. We have tried to arrange the plants so something will be blooming spring through fall and in a variety of color.
The native perennial plants really exceeded our expectations in 2013. They were tall, put out lots of flowers and roots. Some species didn't do as well (textile onions), but hopefully they survived and will be back in the spring of 2014. While the plants are starting in nicely arranged clumps, we hope they will spread and fill in some gaps so it looks more like a native prairie setting. There will be plenty of annual plants to attract and feed the butterflies until then.
Special areas have been arranged for the butterflies.
1) puddling areas - where butterflies can drink water and get extra nutrients from dissolved minerals,
2) lots of rocks - where butterflies can rest and absorb heat from the sun,
3) classroom area - where tours and classroom groups can meet and talk about the garden and its inhabitants.
Three benches are placed in the garden during the summer so you can stop and rest or just sit and watch the action.