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Partners for Wildlife Program

Kjellsen RW 520 x 289Wetland restorations provide not only water for livestock, but are also a critical part of many bird life cycles.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers a suite of voluntary private landowner programs focused on maintaining a profitable ranching lifestyle while providing wildlife habitat. We work with a wide variety of partners to implement high priority wetland and grassland conservation projects. Of particular importance is our work with ranchers to conserve grasslands for future generations of both landowners and wildlife. This priority scheme is consistent with and fulfills the implementation priorities denoted by a wide variety of conservation efforts including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the South Dakota Coordinated Soil and Water Conservation Plan and Partners in Flight. For example, the Partners in Flight plan for western South Dakota states that: "Maintenance of a ranching economy here is compatible with the needs of grassland birds and should be the highest conservation priority." 

The five primary restoration and enhancement activities in the South Dakota Partners Program include water developments, wetland restorations, grazing systems, native grass plantings, and conservation easements.

  512 x 219 3M pond  


  • Water Developments include pipelines and tanks, dugouts, and wetland creations needed as water supplies for livestock grazing. 
194 x 116 Gorder Dam 
  • Wetland restorations primarily consist of plugging surface ditches with earthen plugs. Wetland restorations conducted through the South Dakota Partners Program are most often associated with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation easements or the Conservation Reserve Program.  
150 x 118 PFW creation 150 x 118 Dirt work 
  • Grazing systems typically involve cost sharing of exterior or cross fence for managed grazing systems.  Managed grazing allows landowners to control timing, intensity, and duration of livestock grazing. 
                      150 x 118 yseth Fence 150 x 118 Bison                      
  • Native Grass Plantings are the planing of mixtures of warm and cool season native grass species which are important for good grazing management.  
Flowers 150 x 118  150 x 118 Sturdevant seeding 
  • Conservation Easements - The service offers wetland and grassland conservation easements which provide a monetary payment to landowners for the protections of both wetlands and grasslands.  These easements can be an important tool for the long-term preservation of the family ranching community.  For more information click here for wetland easements or grassland easements. 


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Last Updated: Jun 05, 2014
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