All posts by Michael Tisone

Forest Service urges fire prevention During Hunting Season

Fire officials from the Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands (NNFG) urge visitors to help prevent wildfires. Currently Fire Danger in all areas of the Forest are rated “Very High.”

The wild-land fire support community of the NNFG noted that hunting season brings many visitors onto public lands. Forest Service officials ask that all forest visitors be considerate and practice fire prevention: Know before you go on that camping trip; Fire restrictions may be in place; Target shooting and use of power equipment can spark a wildfire; If you do have a campfire, keep it small, never leave it unattended, and put it out completely before you leave; and finally, remember that fireworks and exploding targets are not allowed on national forest system lands, so leave them home.

Jack Isaacs, Forest Supervisor, “Many areas of our National Forests are very drought-stricken with high fire potential. Help us prevent wildland fires on our Public Lands. We ask folks to be careful and cautious with campfires and avoid driving through the tall, cured grass.”

Be sure to have maps with you to ensure you are on public land. Our Motor Vehicle Use Maps are a free resource that can help. They are available at district offices or online or through the AVENZA app.  Learn more about maps at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/nebraska/maps-pubs.  Forest Visitor Maps are available online for a fee through the USGS Store and electronically through the Avenza Maps mobile app for a fee.  For additional information, visit us online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/nebraska/home; on Twitter @USFSNebraska or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaForestsGrasslands/.

People can also look at certain geographic areas for more specific fire danger. The Nebraska site is here, and the South Dakota site is here.

Custer State Park to Host Annual Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival

Governor Kristi Noem announced that the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) will host the 55th annual Buffalo Roundup and 27th annual Arts Festival in Custer State Park later this month. The Buffalo Roundup begins at 9:30 a.m. MDT on Friday, Sept. 25. The Arts Festival will run from today through Saturday, Sept. 26.

“The Buffalo Roundup embodies the spirit of South Dakota and gives us an opportunity to show off Custer State Park to the world,” said Governor Noem. “This event also helps us emphasize the importance of conservation, ensuring that we’ll have bison thundering through the park for generations to come.”

The parking areas for the Roundup, located near the corrals along the Wildlife Loop Road, open at 6:15 a.m. MDT and close at 9:30 a.m. MDT on Sept. 25. For safety reasons, spectators need to remain in the viewing areas until all the buffalo are corralled which typically occurs around noon.

The annual Arts Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. MDT on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. The Arts Festival takes place near the State Game Lodge and features western and bluegrass entertainment along with numerous vendors.

“While the Buffalo Roundup serves as a critical management tool for Custer State Park, it is an event unlike any other in the world,” said Scott Simpson, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “The West comes alive on Roundup morning and leaves guests with memories that last a lifetime.”

A state park entrance license is required on Thursday and Saturday, but there is no cost to attend the Buffalo Roundup or Arts Festival on Friday. Share the experience by using #SDintheField and #BuffaloRoundup when posting images to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Governor Noem and Mayor TenHaken Announce Planned Completion of Veterans Parkway

Governor Kristi Noem and Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken announced plans to complete construction on the Veterans Parkway on the south side of Sioux Falls. The Transportation Commission approved plans for the final completion of the project earlier today.

“As South Dakota’s economy continues to grow, it’s crucial that we finalize this major infrastructure investment in Sioux Falls,” said Governor Noem. “The Veterans Parkway will enhance economic opportunities for the city and the surrounding area, and I’m grateful for the continued partnership between the State and the City to get this project across the finish line.”

There are four remaining projects anticipated, which will span from I-29 to 57th Street. Once the remaining projects are completed, the City of Sioux Falls will take over jurisdiction.

“We are grateful to the Governor’s Office and the South Dakota Department of Transportation for making this critical investment in roadway infrastructure,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken. “The southern expansion of Veterans Parkway has been discussed for decades, and when completed, it will be transformational for our region. This multiyear roadway expansion will not only improve traffic flow and better connect Sioux Falls to neighboring communities but also spark significant economic development along with the project.”

 The total estimated cost for the remaining portion of the Veterans Parkway is $208.9 million, including $176 million from the State of South Dakota and $32.9 million from the City of Sioux Falls.

City Meetings Tonight

The Chamberlain City Commission will meet this evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Chamberlain City offices at 715 N. Main Street.

The Winner City Council will meet this evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

The Gregory City Council will meet at 6:00 p.m. he Gregory City Council will meet this evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Gregory Fire Hall.

SDSU Extension Releases Guide for Landowners Involved in Wind or Energy Development

Recent energy development projects have impacted several regions of South Dakota with disturbance to native soils. To provide guidance for South Dakota landowners and energy industry representatives, SDSU Extension has released a guide titled, “Best Management Practices Guide for Restoration of Native Grasslands and Sensitive Sites Resulting from Energy or Industrial Development.”
The guide is designed to be a resource for those who have agreed to allow wind or other energy development on their property and those who might be considering participating in energy development in the future.
“One of the primary needs has been helping landowners understand the potential short- and long-term impacts of energy development projects to native systems,” Bauman said. “There are facts that need to be addressed to ensure that when a landowner enters into an agreement, they do so with full knowledge of what might be in store.”
The publication includes guidance on understanding the ‘big picture’ of overall wind impacts and siting issues, avoidance of the disturbance of native ecosystems, and contract negotiation, mitigation and restoration in areas where avoidance is not practiced. It also features common native grassland species suggestions that are generally suitable for most areas of South Dakota.
“When it comes to land restoration and mitigation, there is a lot of science out there, but there really isn’t anything in the form of a usable guide for landowners that has enough depth without being too cumbersome,” Bauman said. “We worked hard to create a useable guide that is practical and timely. It’s something that’s been needed for some time.”
The “Best Management Practices Guide for Restoration of Native Grasslands and Sensitive Sites Resulting from Energy or Industrial Development” is free and available to the public on the SDSU Extension website at https://extension.sdstate.edu/best-management-practices-guide-restoration-native-grasslands-and-sensitive-sites-resulting-energy.