March 13, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. – The Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to remove the river otter from South Dakota’s list of threatened and endangered species.

Several factors have allowed river otter populations to rebound in South Dakota, including re-introductions, improvements in wetland and river habitat management, and protections through various laws.

GFP developed a species status review for river otters to provide strategic guidance for the recovery and sustained management of river otter. Part of the review includes recovery criteria, which provide guidelines for removing the river otter from the state threatened species list when appropriate.

In 2019, river otters in South Dakota met or exceeded the criteria thresholds to remove the threatened status, with GFP receiving verified reports of reproduction in three of the five basins (60 percent) within the recovery area. In addition, the presence of river otters has been documented by verified reports in at least 40 percent of their sub-basins.

To comment in person, the public hearing will be held April 2 at 2 p.m. CDT at Good Earth State Park located at 26924 480th Avenue in Sioux Falls. Oral testimony can also be provided remotely at this time, via conference call at the GFP Rapid City Regional Office (Outdoor Campus West) 4130 Adventure Trail, Rapid City, SD, at the GFP Watertown Regional Office 400 West Kemp, Watertown, SD, or at the GFP Main Office, Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD.

Individuals can comment online at or mail comments to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing). 


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