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Big Sioux River Watershed Partnership Awarded for Conservation Efforts

Big Sioux River Watershed Partnership Awarded for Conservation EffortsLeft to Right: Jesse Nyens, City of Sioux Falls; Gene Thormodsgaard, Lincoln Conservation District; Bob Woerman, Minnehaha Conservation District; Richard Green, Union Conservation District; Carolyn Rudebusch, Lake Conservation District; Darrell DeBoer, Brookings Conservation District; Jack Majeres, Moody Conservation District; Jay Gilbertson, East Dakota Water Development District, and Jeff Zimprich, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Big Sioux River Watershed Partnership Awarded for Conservation Efforts

NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS), Huron, SD, June 26, 2017— The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) South Dakota State Conservationist Jeff Zimprich, Huron, congratulated the Excellence in Cooperative Conservation Award winners Friday in Sioux Falls, SD. Zimprich spotlighted the conservation efforts of nine entities in the Big Sioux River Watershed (BSRWP): the City of Sioux Falls, the City of Brookings, East Dakota Water Development District, Brookings County Conservation District, Lake County Conservation District, Moody County Conservation District, Minnehaha Conservation District, Lincoln Conservation District, and the Union County Conservation District.

The Cooperative Conservation Award honors those outside NRCS for their work in conservation.  The award is presented to an individual or group that best exemplifies dedication and leadership to natural resources conservation through cooperative conservation.  This stewardship efforts of this group has been happening for years however; they started concentrating their efforts in 2008 along the Big Sioux River below the northern Brookings County line and its tributaries.  Zimprich said, “What’s unique about the Big Sioux River Watershed Partnership (BSRWP) is their ability to communicate, ability to grow and see the big picture, but also their ability to stay focused on implementing conservation of natural resources.”

“The major water impairments in the Big Sioux River and many of its tributaries are bacteria and sediments,” explains Jack Majeres, Moody Conservation District, Dell Rapids, SD. “To date, much of our emphasis has been focused on the Skunk Creek because it was one of the most impaired tributaries.  Now,” Majeres says, “due to the concentrated efforts of this partnership and the ag producers in the Skunk Creek Watershed, the Skunk Creek is currently not impaired for sediments and has had the bacteria levels significantly reduced.”  “And that is great news for everyone,” says Zimprich.

At the award presentation, Zimprich outlined the conservation efforts by the nine entities to improve soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources, and emphasized the value, and importance of the Partnership as it helps local farmers and ranchers, but also how it provides benefits to society of clean air to breathe, quality drinking water, habitat for wildlife, and recreational opportunities. “The building of their relationship as they collaborate toward a common goal is what makes the BSRWP a shining example – not only an example to be proud of, but one that is a model for others to follow,” said Zimprich.

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