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News Release

Application Deadline for Resilient Forest Landscapes Project Announced

Michael Baldwin, Conservation District Manager
(605) 673-5680 |

Andrew Thomason, Public Affairs Specialist
(605) 570-2625 |

Huron, S.D., June 1, 2021 – Conservation Implementation Strategy (CIS) Project Resilient Forest Landscapes will soon be underway in Custer County, South Dakota, serving the community and improving land quality. This 4-year project is one of 16 selected in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 and federally funded in FY2021 through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) conservation programs in the 2018 Farm Bill. The purpose of this project is to thin trees, reduce fuels, remove trees encroaching into meadows and grasslands to reduce wildfire and insect hazard, improve forage production and habitat density, and mitigate invasive species spread. This project will be implemented by the Custer County Conservation District in collaboration with farmers, ranchers, and landowners. Farmers, ranchers, and landowners within the project areas are eligible to apply for financial assistance. The project batching date deadline for applications is July 1, 2021.

The NRCS conservation specialists and partners are coordinating locally led CIS projects throughout the state. Through collectively focusing expertise and resources on the highest priority resource concerns in the highest priority areas, CIS projects can yield the most impressive returns. Collaborative funding and support from other agencies and groups create a coordinated community effort and focus on mutual issues of concern.

The Resilient Forest Landscapes Project partners with NRCS, South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR), DANR Wildland Fire Division, Custer County Weed and Pest Development, and the U.S. Forest Service to directly benefit forested lands in identified priority areas in Custer County. Project sponsors identified excessive biomass accumulation, inadequate plant structure and composition, plant pest pressure, feed and forage imbalance, and terrestrial habitat for wildlife and invertebrates as resource concerns and developed this CIS project to address the situation.

“Reducing wildfire risks and improving forest resiliency not only benefits the landowners involved in this project, but benefits all residents and visitors to Custer County,” says Mike Baldwin, Custer County Conservation District Office Manager in Custer, South Dakota.

To apply to be a part of this project, find and contact your local NRCS Service Center at, or contact Michael Baldwin at (605) 673-5680. 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.

The 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