Four SD grassland restoration projects awarded a total of $250,000 in federal funds

A dragonfly rests on a blade of prairie grass in western South Dakota. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

South Dakota Searchlight

South Dakota is set to receive $250,000 in federal funding for the implementation of four grassland restoration projects across the eastern part of the state.

On Friday, the Department of the Interior announced a nearly $11 million investment to help restore U.S. habitats across 18 states. The funds are in support of President Joe Biden’s  America the Beautiful initiative, which aims to conserve and restore 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the funding will support “nature-based solutions.”

“At a time when tackling the climate and biodiversity crises could not be more critical, these investments in clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, cultural resources and open spaces will benefit people, wildlife and local economies for generations to come,” Haaland said in a news release.

The four initiatives in South Dakota aim to conserve, restore and improve the biology and ecology of native prairies. All the projects will be administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The funded projects are in the following areas:

  • Waubay Wildlife Management District, in northeastern South Dakota, $111,735.
  • Sand Lake Wildlife Management District, also in the northeast, $88,000.
  • Huron Wildlife Management District, in eastern South Dakota, $42,000.
  • Lake Andes Wildlife Management District, in the southeast, $8,265.

The $11 million comes from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021. The law allocated funds toward a broad spectrum of priorities, including transportation, broadband internet expansion, water systems improvement, and environmental restoration.