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News Release

South Dakota NRCS Announces Excellence in Cooperative Conservation Award Winners

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

NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS) Huron, S.D. September 20, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) serving South Dakota announces five entities have jointly won the agency's "2021 Excellence in Cooperative Conservation" Award.

The Jackson County Conservation District (CD), Jones County CD, Todd County CD, Bennett County CD, and the Brule Creek Watershed District are being recognized for their diligent work coordinating with the NRCS on a series of Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program dam repairs across the state.

The Excellence in Cooperative Conservation Award highlights an individual or group’s capability to communicate, grow, and innovate to improve South Dakota’s natural resources. “Without our partners taking the the lead at the local level, NRCS would not be as effective at implementing conservation practices,” says Acting State Conservationist Jackie Byam, Huron. “We applaud the work of these Districts in facilitating these important EWP projects.”

Working collaboratively with the NRCS, each of the local districts oversaw the completion of their respective projects:  the Belvidere Dam repair, the Murdo Dam repair, Debris Removal in Todd County, a Holding Pond repair in Bennett County, and repairing the Brule 26 Dam. “Very often these projects are sponsored at the county or city level, but the districts took on the challenge to help out their local communities” says South Dakota NRCS State Conservation Engineer Jay Cobb, Huron. “Despite the difficulties with communication in the midst of a pandemic, the projects were completed successfully.” With these projects completed, the risk of flooding, erosion, or sediment is reduced if another large weather event occurs.

The award was presented at the South Dakota Association of Conservation District's Annual Convention in Spearfish, South Dakota, today. “The NRCS congratulates the districts for their leadership and we look forward to working together on other important resource concerns into the future” says Byam.