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News Release

New Application Deadline for Hecla Sandhills Prairie Management Project

Rachel Giles, Public Affairs Specialist
(605) 570-2622 |

Judith Schultz, District Conservationist
(605) 448-5921 |

Huron, South Dakota, May 26, 2021– CIS Project Hecla Sandhills Prairie Management will soon be underway in Brown and Marshall Counties, South Dakota, serving the community and improving land quality. This 3-year project is one of 16 selected in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 and federally-funded through the NRCS conservation programs in the 2018 Farm Bill. The purpose of this project is improved habitat in the Hecla Sandhills for grassland nesting birds through the removal of invasive woody species and the installation of grazing infrastructure to allow rotationally managed grazing. This project will be implemented by the NRCS, Audubon Dakota, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in collaboration with landowners. Farmers and ranchers within the project areas are eligible to apply for financial assistance. The batching date deadline for applications is June 25, 2021.

Project sponsors identified invasive tree encroachment as a resource concern and developed this CIS project to address the situation. "Invasive tree encroachment slowly takes range production from ranchers and degrades grassland bird habitat in the Hecla Sandhills," says Joshua Lefers, Working Lands Program Manager with Audubon Dakota, "through this financial assistance for pasture renovations, ranchers can boost forage production and improve wildlife habitat by removing trees and shrubs from their pastures."

To apply to be a part of this project, find and contact your local NRCS Service Center in Brown or Marshall County at To contact the project lead for Brown County, call (605) 226-3360 or e-mail For Marshall County, call (605) 448-5921 or e-mail

For more information on the CIS in South Dakota, or if you have ideas for a project, visit, or contact Val Dupraz, Acting Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, at or (605) 692-2344. 

All news releases are archived on the South Dakota NRCS Website. USDA Service Centers are open for business. Farmers, ranchers, and landowners can call or e-mail to make in-person appointments at USDA Service Centers across the country. Find and contact your local NRCS Service Center at