Private Lands Habitat and Access Strategic Plan
Since approximately 80% of the state's land base is under private ownership, private landowners serve as the stewards with the most influence over wildlife habitat conditions for wildlife populations. Dating back to the mid-1970's, SD GFP has offered voluntary private land habitat programs to cooperating landowners, if they desire to establish and enhance wildlife habitat. GFP has developed this strategic plan to serve as an adaptive document to guide our efforts to manage habitat and provide public access to private land.
Habitat and Access Programs for landowners
- Habitat Management - Habitat management is crucial for increasing desired wildlife species on your property. GFP private lands habitat biologists can take landowners who want to support wildlife through a series of steps to determine what will work for their specific situation.
- Wildlife Partnership Program - offers a number of cost share programs assisting private landowners develop upland game bird habitat. These habitat projects are aimed to increase nesting, escape, and severe winter cover on private lands.
- Wetland and Grassland Habitat Program - works with landowners and our conservation partners to implement wetland and grassland conservation practices that will benefit wildlife while meeting the needs of landowners. In addition to technical assistance, the Wetland & Grassland Habitat Program offers a variety of cost share options for private landowners
- Walk-in Area Program - works to maintain South Dakota's rich hunting heritage by providing access on privately owned lands through contracts with landowners who have CRP or other valuable wildlife habitat. The landowner opens the land to free public hunting, (foot-traffic only), in exchange for a small payment and immunity from non-negligent liability.
- Controlled Hunting Access Program (CHAP) - In 2008, GFP initiated a new big game hunting access program - CHAP. CHAP is a cooperative effort between private landowners and Game, Fish and Parks. Landowners who enroll in CHAP will have more controll over hunter activities on their land, including controlling the amount of hunter use at a given time, setting special provisions for use, placing restrictions on big game species allowed to be harvested, and game retrieval. For more information or assistance, go to the Fact Sheet.
- Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (C.R.E.P.) - Administered by the USDA's Farm Service Agency, CREP is a "state-sponsored" Conservation Reserve Program designed for a specific geographic area that will address resource concerns identified by state partners. In South Dakota, the focus will be on creating additional pheasant nesting habitat.
- Federal Farm Bill Conservation Programs - The Farm Bill offers a variety of opportunities to support conservation on your land.
- Conservation Partners - In addition to cooperating landowners, GFP participates with other conservation partners to complete habitat projects on private land at varying levels of involvement. Here is a list of other organizations you can partner with...
- Technical Resources - more detailed information on areas of your particular interest.
Wildlife Damage Management
GFP employs 27 full-time Wildlife Damage Specialists (WDS) within its Wildlife Damage Management Program. These staff work directly with landowners and producers to reduce or alleviate wildlife damage such as: livestock losses, damage to stored-feed supplies and hay, damage to growing crops, as well as damage to personal property. They also conduct educational programs on sport trapping as a form of recreation and its importance in the management of furbearers. Programs can be given in classrooms, meeting halls, summer camps or other group meeting locations.
Please contact your local WDS or call your local GFP office for assistance.
Additional information on the program can be found below.