Action Alerts

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Current Alerts

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SHOOTING COMPLEX

SHOOTING RANGE

SD Game, Fish and Parks proposed shooting range, in Meade County SD, just east of Elk Vale Road and north of Elk Creek. – Now called the proposed “South Dakota Shooting Sports Complex”, previously it was named after Rapid City, but the Meade County Commission objected to naming a facility in Meade County after Rapid City.

First below find list of actions to take, 

Scroll below that to find a discussion of the issue and facts.

 

A. Immediate deadline – June 28th, 2022, Meade County

Meade County Commission Public Hearing on Section Line Relocation at GFP proposed shooting range at 1 pm on Tuesday June 28th,

Meade County Commission Public Hearing on Section Line Relocation at GFP proposed shooting range (near Elk Vale Road and Elk Creek) at 1 pm on Tuesday June 28th,

Go to Board docs for details and agenda of the Commission meeting, using this link. 

https://go.boarddocs.com/sd/meade/Board.nsf/Public

6/28 agenda likely won’t be posted till the Friday before the meeting, but you can go to the May 10th meeting agenda to –  just before 10 am – and see various documents related to issue to download

Petition to relocate section line
2 Aerial Maps
 
Meade County Commission,  1300 Sherman Street STE 212 | Sturgis, SD 57785, staff contact Jerry Derr, jderr@meadecounty.org, 605-720-1625, You can look up Commissioners and send them a message at: https://www.meadecounty.org/commission/
 
B. Iterative deadlines
   June 2-3rd, May5-6, April 7-8March 3-4th, formal Commission meetings– Game, Fish & Parks Commission meetings Face-to-Face & Zoom.
You can still write in concern or opposition to it, but at this point, we suggest that you ask for stricter environmental protections, reduced footprint or to use the land for some other purpose – such as a park, as they have bought the land 

 

 Written comments can be uploaded here or submitted at an on-line comment portal   https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ . If you want the Commission  to read your comments before meetings, which are normally on Thursdays submit by midnight CT on Sunday before the meeting.  Comments can be given to Commissioners directly as individuals, at each’s contact address/phone  any time:  https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/members/  https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/information/ Agenda will be posted here when close to the date : https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/information/  .If you check the agenda and  attend the Commission meeting by Zoom you will hear updates on the Shooting Range.

June 2-3 formal Commission meeting– Game, Fish & Parks Commission – Aberdeen/Zoom

https://phas-wsd.org/event/june-2022-sd-game-fish-and-parks-commission-meeting-hybrid/

Written comments by Sunday May 29th at midnight CT.   https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ 

 PAST – March 3 & 4th, was a formal Commission meeting– Game, Fish & Parks Commission meeting in Pierre & Zoom. GFP Commission considered a resolution to purchase the property from the Foundation, who bought it in 2021 to hold for GFP while formal appraisal of the property was done.  in 2021 GFP promised to buy the land & GFP bought it in 2022.

 https://gfp.sd.gov/UserDocs/meetings/21-03_Resolution_-_Authorizing_purchase_of_Rapid_City_Shooting_Range_(3).pdf

 

 

 

 

B. REASONS TO OPPOSE AT THIS TIME 

Rapid City Shooting Range – Please either oppose or ask for an EIS to be done before building or funding it

Protect the water quality in the area from lead pollution.

 

You can write or call Meade County Commission, Game, Fish & Parks (GFP) staff and/or GFP Commission will make decisions. Read the draft EA & call up DANR staff reviewing the EA. The USFWS staff in Denver is overseeing a NEPA analysis but GFP and had released the EA for comment    (comment period closed).  (GFP is asking for the USFWS’s Pittman Robertson’s grant program to help pay for the project. Either the federal government or the USFWS policy requires NEPA for projects creating outdoor gun ranges. If FWS approves funding it will stipulate some requirements in a contract).  You can write or call your legislator (as GFP was asking the legislature for money to pay for this project & failed to get it – scoll down)

 

 

 Game, Fish and Parks has been unable to fund raise enough donations or grants to pay for building the range and are asking  the 2022 legislature for millions to help fund the project & did not get the 2.5 million, perhaps they will try again next year . Thus folks can contact your SD Legislator with concerns.

SDGFP hopes to break ground in spring. They were asking the SD National Guard to help them build it – but the Guard said NO.

The site is hilly & especially rugged in north end. The EPA recommends flat areas for shooting ranges, thus we assume major land sculpting & storm water management has to happen. That will be expensive. What other GFP projects for wildlife or parks could be afforded if a site that better conformed with EPAs location guidance had been chosen?

 
SDGFP will be relying in part on Pittman Robertson funding given to them by the USFWS. FWS staff thus must sign off on a NEPA document, either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS).  Folks should insist on an EIS as the project won’t comply with the EPA Best Management Practices for shooting ranges – GFP selected a site that does not match the site selection guidance.. 
EPA and DANR only regulate shooting ranges at closure, or during construction for storm water runoff. EPA provides guidance (Best Management Practices)  but that guidance is not enforceable, except we can request discussion of this non-compliance in the NEPA document and ask for an EIS. The EIS’s range of alternatives should offer an alternative site selection. Another request for the SD Legislature would be for Dept of Agriculture and Natural Resources (used to be DENR) to be given authority to regulate location, construction and operation of shooting ranges, for lead management concerns (it doesnt have that power now). 
 
 
Map of proposed GFP shooting range, it is off Elk Vale Road north of Elk Creek
 
 
 
 
 

John Kanta at SDGFP knows about the shooting range.  Some engineering plans have been drawn up.

Money to help pay for the project is being sought under Pittman Robertson from the Denver USFWS office,  A totally inadequate draft “environmental assessment” has been written, Public scoping for the EA did not happen.  Comments were due March 24th.
 
SDGFP Commission’s Resolution about land purchase using South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation as a temporary intermediary to hold the land, can be found at below link (The range will be in Meade not Pennington County)
This resolution was adopted in Jan 2021 after about a 30 minute presentation to the Commission.
 It commits the Commission to buying the property from the Foundation at a fixed cost for property – that in January 2021 was not yet appraised and for a site not yet reviewed by the public. The appraisal was less than what they promised to pay. They paid 2,220 per acre and we heard it was appraised at 1,400 per acre.  This hasty action violated at least 4 sections of the SDGFP Land Acquisition Priorities and Guidance – link to that document.

 

  
 
GFP sheet about firing range.
Plans/Drawings of proposed Range
 
Meade County Map showing area’s land parcels
 
TALKING POINTS:
 Some environmental issues associated with shooting ranges can be –
1) Lead contamination from bullets with impacts to ponds/creeks and ground water in area – this is a pollution risk to fish, waterfowl and people. Do folks living along Elk Creek have wells into a water table that is influenced by Elk Creek?
2) Noise of gun fire from hundreds of shooting positions,
3) Disturbance to waterfowl wildlife, livestock and homes/ranches from noise and activity of people. Whooping crane, a federally endangered species, have been seen on the pond just to the south of the project.
4) Bullets traveling to neighboring lands, including over areas with slopes/valleys, with possible impacts to livestock,
5.) Fire risk, 
6) Impacts of traffic to about 3 miles of dirt road resulting in noise, dust and wear and tear and cost of maintenance to Meade
county. Will GFP pay to finish paving Elk Vale Rd, as the County requests?
7)  Supervision of the property and law enforcement costs – What new security costs will be assumed by Meade County vs. GFP? What increase in crime to the neighborhood?
8) Section line relocation could be put too close to wetlands, pond high-water mark & dugout in pond’s inlet
 
The pond/wetland immediately to the south of the property has excellent birding. Whooping cranes have been seen on it.  This range will be about 2.5 miles from Sevey Lake, a popular birding spot.  Impacts to wildlife and fish are not just those on the property, but those nearby who would be impacted by the noise and disturbance or water pollution downstream. Lead pollution is a major issue, especially as the site does not meet the EPA criteria for siting of ranges (not-flat -too much slope).
Fact sheet on Lead Pollution at Outdoor Firing Ranges:
EPA on BMP on managing lead at shooting ranges 
 
We quote that document at page II-5:
 
“The most important site selection criteria to consider when selecting a new range
location include: topography; surface water flow patterns; and depth to groundwater. If
possible, ranges should be developed on flat terrain, as it facilitates reclamation and reduces
the chance of off-site migration due to surface water runoff as compared with highly sloped
terrain. When considering a prospective location for a range, ask yourself: What is the direction of
surface water runoff? Does the site drain to surface water (e.g., streams, rivers) on-site?
Off-site? Can the range design be modified to minimize potential runoff? Is reclaimation
equipment accessible to the area to clean the range?” (Emphasis added).
 
 
.  There are several ponds/impoundments  near edges of the property, inside the property & one has some wetlands associated with it.  The range’s south boundary bisects or borders a pond on an unnamed tributary of Elk Creek.  GFP won’t have access to all or parts of the 2 edge/boundary ponds, as they are on private land. The proposed shooting range is divided between Elk and Antelope Creek drainage basins, with at least most of the northeast-end of range draining to Antelope Creek and the south-end will be draining to Elk Creek.   As the crow flies the range is closest to Elk Creek, but as water flows toward the two drainages, it is closer to Antelope Creek.  
 
 In the pink map below, the shooting range’s south boundary crosses the heart shaped pond just east of Elk Vale Rd and 3/4 mile north of Elk Creek, that sits on a tributary that flows southeast to Elk Creek – merging with Elk Creek in several miles. It’s north boundary is near the slight bend in Elk Vale Rd at a mile and a quarter above that pond. The slight bend in road is on the ridge top.  Property is a half mile wide and a mile and a quarter tall.
 
The topography at the north end is much more hilly, with the north entrance at a ridge top. The smaller shooting bays in the north, are in a descending valley – carved into the western slope.  Some of the southern shooting bays are placed in side drainages. The whole property is descending from the ridge towards the pond.  This site does not meet the EPAs guidance for siting shooting ranges: the EPA wants them on flat sites.  Soil has clay in it . It is harder for reclamation machines to recover lead from clay soil and the machines need flat surfaces.
Reclamation lead bullets/fragments from clay may require washing. It will likely require removal or burning of grass cover, which vegetation 
concentrate lead.
 
Survey of the site has identified cultural properties, but has not yet done Section 106 consultation with tribes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
CUMULATIVE NOISE

 
See map below. Each of the smaller shooting bays may have 5 -10 shooting lanes/each. There are 29  such bays, 12 are in the south . The 200-400 ft bays may have 20 shooting position/each, 2 are in the south unit. The extra long bays may have 40 positions, 2 are in the south unit. The shooting clays have 12 positions/each.    The south-end range may be used for local shooters. There are 180 shooting positions there.  The north-end range may be used for competitions or training activities and some bays are called “action bays” without assigned lanes. There are 12 positions at the sporting clays.
Decibels from each gun fire are significant 150dB-163.2 dB  ; https://earinc.com/gunfire-noise-level-reference-chart/.  The north end is in a more steep and rugged location, it has a small flat area at the top, but descends into valleys and rugged territory.. 
 
 
 
PAST  DEADLINES
 You can write or call Meade County Commission, Game, Fish and Parks Commission and your legislator (as GFP is asking the legislature for money to pay for this project.) The USFWS staff in Denver is participating in NEPA analysis 
 

C. Past/EXPIRED deadlines with respect to this alert 

 

 

  1.   Release of an Environmental Assessment for public comment, comments due 3/20/24. (revised deadline).  It is posted on USFWS website for the 30-day public comment period. This EA is seriously flawed. It does not provide sufficient information on management of storm water or lead on the site — it just claims it will comply with EPA’s “Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges”, without adequate details.  It  includes no indication of any baseline testing of  surface or underground water, air or soil & does not provide for an alternative of selecting another site. Its’ conclusions about surface waters on & near the site & associated fish & wildlife are inadequate/wrong. It’s discussion on lead reclamation is just part of a sentence. It does not consider impacts to archeological resources from visitors to facility.  Discussion of various impacts too cursory or missing.  The EA is extremely inadequate and does not justify a FONSI (finding of no significant impact) or justify the Legislature supporting SB 175.  PHAS comment letter to House Members on SB 175:   https://www.scribd.com/document/563057586/Please-Oppose-SB-175-a-Bill-to-Partially-Fund-the-Proposed-Shooting-Complex-of-GFP-at-Elk-Vale-Rd-Near-Elk-Creek-in-Meade-County 

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Public comments will be accepted for a 30-day  comment period, ending March 24, 2022, [revised deadline] and can be electronically submitted to: fw6_FAGrants@fws.gov  Copies of the Draft EA, which include details of the proposed action and the alternatives considered, are available online at: https://fws.gov/library/collections/wsfr-rapid-city-south-dakota-proposed-shooting-range  Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-8165. Comments will be accepted until March 24, 2022, and should be sent to: Chief, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO, 80225.

Link to Draft Environmental assessment 

 https://fws.gov/media/rapid-city-shooting-range-initial-environmental-assessment

Links to Appendix

https://fws.gov/media/rapid-city-shooting-range-draft-ea-appendix

https://fws.gov/media/rapid-city-shooting-range-draft-ea-appendix-b

https://fws.gov/media/rapid-city-shooting-range-draft-ea-appendix-c-f

Link to Press release

https://fws.gov/press-release/2022-02/proposed-shooting-range-rapid-city-south-dakota 

2  Meade County Commission (MCC) is being asked to take actions related to this project, but has not yet done so.  Game, Fish & Parks made a presentation to the Meade County Commission on the morning of Tuesday 2/8/2022. They have sent a letter to the Meade County Commission (MCC)which was discussed at the Feb 22nd meeting of the Meade County Commission, stating intent to ask for relocation of a section line and offering a future proposal about road maintenance – link to letter: https://go.boarddocs.com/sd/meade/Board.nsf/files/CBRQES68F69D/$file/SDGFPLETTER.pdf SD GFP while seeking funding from the legislature, wants to be able to say they have worked out issues with the Meade County Commission. The Meade County Commission does not want Meade County to bear the cost of the maintaining 3 miles of gravel road, that the traffic from Rapid City and from other counties, will travel across to the range. The Commission has suggested it be paved. SDGFP needs to get a section line vacated or relocated and they have to ask the Meade Commission to do that. 

Meade County Commission could adopt an ordinance about location and construction of shooting ranges, but has not yet chosen to do that, and if they don’t before construction starts this range would be grandfathered in.  Visit  Meade’s Board docs to see agenda for 2/22/2022. The Meade County Commission took no action on 2/22/22. Just listened to report of staff on communications with GFP.

 MCC will still be asked to take action on this project.  To contact Commission visit link:    https://www.meadecounty.org/commission

Sturgis City Council considered a draft letter on 2/22/22/ stating approval for the proposed Shooting Range, but took no action (Sturgis remained neutral).

3. PAST  (- Bills killed). Look up votes and thank those who voted against SB 175 

    Oppose SB 175 – https://sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/23361/231510 – about 5 million dollar appropriation request. This was in Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee  on Thursday 2/10/2022. It was referred first to Joint Appropriations, Then to Senate Appropriations – for a hearing on 2/17/22. It passed both committees with 2 votes against in each committee.   It went to Senate floor and was scheduled for Tuesday 2/22nd, 2022 and had to be voted on by Wednesday.  They needed two thirds of senate to vote for it, due to emergency clause & it  passed with 5 votes against it.  It went back to the House &  the House sent it to House Appropriations Committee– in Committee 3/2/22 in afternoon 3 pm or  15 minutes after session.   Hyperlinks to  our testimony against this bill in Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources and Senate Appropriations are posted to our legislature web page.  This was killed in House Appropriations Committee, but it was  “smoked out” for a vote on Monday 3/7/22.  A majority vote was needed to put it on the calendar and then 2/3rds must vote to approve it.  PHAS comment letter to House Members:   https://www.scribd.com/document/563057586/Please-Oppose-SB-175-a-Bill-to-Partially-Fund-the-Proposed-Shooting-Complex-of-GFP-at-Elk-Vale-Rd-Near-Elk-Creek-in-Meade-County    The bill failed to pass the House – vote YEAS 39, NAYS 30, The Reconsideration motion failed – vote    : YEAS 35, NAYS 34.

 

 MORE RECENT ACTIONS – LAST DITCH EFFORT 

There was an attempt to put SB 175 into HB 1166 at aConference Committee Meeting on that HB 1166 on 3/9/22. at 11:30 pm CT. All 6 people on the Committee voted for SB 175 on the floor  – one is the bill sponsor David Johnson. The conference committee could not agree on what to do and thus we believe HB 1166 and the attempt to amend it is dead.  Link to info on Conference Committee:  https://www.sdlegislature.gov/Session/ConferenceCommittees/64    Link to the proposed amended version of HB 1166: https://mylrc.sdlegislature.gov/api/Documents/236283.pdfTh

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday and Friday are the last 2 days of the legislature. We don’t think any more attempts to try to insert amendments to funding bills in conference committees were planned.

 
 

 4. March 3 & 4th, was a formal Commission meeting- Game, Fish & Parks Commission meeting in Pierre & Zoom. GFP Commission considered a resolution to purchase the property from the Foundation, who bought it to hold for GFP while formal appraisal of the property was done.  

Results – Commission approved the land purchase. You can still write in opposition to it, but at this point, need to ask for strict environmental protections or to use the land for some other purpose – such as a park.

 

https://gfp.sd.gov/UserDocs/meetings/21-03_Resolution_-_Authorizing_purchase_of_Rapid_City_Shooting_Range_(3).pdf

 

 

hhttps://gfp.sd.gov/commission/archives/63/

 

 Written comments in opposition to the land  purchase or the shooting range can be uploaded here or submitted at an on-line comment portal   https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ .  

SD Game, Fish and Parks Commission meetings  Evening of 2/21/22, 5:30 – 7:30 pm CT, informal – one-on-one meeting opportunity at Arrowwood Resort, Oacoma, RSVP by 2/16/22, Rachel.Comes@state.sd.us,

 

 
 .   Meade County –  Past Deadline 2/8/2022 – A letter from SDGFP  was discussed February  22nd
Please express concerns about the shooting range to Meade County
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5. On 12/21/21 the Meade County Commission (MCC) discussed a draft letter to Gov. Noem, about Meade County’s concerns about the costs to Meade County from the proposed shooting range off Elk Vale Rd, just north of Elk Creek, but came to no conclusions except to talk to SDGFP some more. 
Go to the Meade County’s BoardDoc page for agenda of the meeting  Shooting range discussion was expected after 10 am on 12/21/21
To submit written comments on-line:
1300 Sherman Street, Suite 212, Sturgis, SD 57785, 605.720.1625 | Fax: 605.720.1633
 

 

MCC could send that or another letter to the governor . Meade County does not have zoning but 
state law allows counties to create ordinances about shooting ranges that address construction and location 
(SDCL 21-10-32 offers authority and 21-10- 28 limits it )
Draft letter:
.Meade County is asked by SDGFP to relocate a section line running east-west down to the south edge shooting bay area. SD law reserves 66 feet

 along the section line for public access – without the move, this reservation might influence  Range  design/management .Meade County wants 3 miles of gravel on Elk Vale road paved, but GFP is proposing to share maintenance costs. Meade County wants 3 miles of gravel on Elk Vale road paved, but GFP is proposing to share maintenance costs.

No formal section line relocation request has been submitted yet. Commission & GFP have not agreed on any road proposals — only ideas have been explored in discussions by GFP with Meade’s transportation staff.

 

 
 
6.   Deadline – January 28th, 2022 – letters to John Kanta Rapid City Shooting Range  –  Comment To SDGFP 
  January 28th, was the deadline to comment to John Kanta of SD GFP if you object to the National Guard assisting with construction of the shooting range proposal. john.kanta-state.sd.us” <john.kanta@state.sd.us> .If you don’t object by the deadline you waive the right to object.  A public notice says:
“This project can’t be completed in its’ entirety without assistance from the National Guard” However the National Guard said no to helping with the project – how will SDGFP afford the entire project without National Guard help at earth moving?

 

 
 

7. January 25th , 2022 House Agriculture & NaturalResources killed HB 1049, that would have appropriated 5 million for the shooting range. Senator David Johnson responded with a similar bill – SB 175 in the Senate, which has passed the Senate sent back to the House. Killed in Appropriations, Smoked out on floor, up on March 7th on floor. Killed on House floor. Attempt to insert funding text to another bill about funding roads near Palisades State Park –  HB 1166, in conference committee. That failed also.

8 . January 4th, Tuesday, 2022 – range was discussed at the  SDGFP Commission Meeting

9. December 21st, 2021 Tuesday –  Meade County Commission Meeting discussed project and listened to to GFP and public proponents, and to opponents but took no action on the proposed letter about the shooting range.

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Deadline December 22nd, 2021 – BHNF Timbersale, Comment Deadline was extended to  Wednesday, January 5th, 2021
The Black Hills NF issued a scoping notice for the “Woods Project” on the Bearlodge Ranger District in Wyoming.
 
The Forest Service is proposing logging across 3,179 acres (~5 square miles) spread across a wide area which will include:
839 acres of thinning of mature trees only
588 acres of thinning of mature trees and smaller trees
1,340 acres of thinning of smaller trees only
412 acres of thinning in stands with uneven spacing
The project will require the use of approximately 35.5 miles of existing Forest Service roads that are closed to general public motorized use and 9.5 miles of roads that are part of the designated motorized trail system. Up to 7 miles of road would require reconstruction due to drainage problems or damage. No construction of new, permanent roads would occur.
 
The Forest Service proposes to approve the project via a categorical exclusion, so there will be no environmental analysis subject to public comment.
 
The public may submit comments on the 1.5 page scoping notice through Dec. 20.
The project webpage is here.
 
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 South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission” Leaheld  their monthly meeting at the Matthews Training Center in Pierre,  .  https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/This meeting was held via Zoom/conference call and livestream. The meeting began Tuesday, Jan 4 at 1 p.m. CT The livestream could have been found at https://www.sd.net.SDGFP Commission’s Resolution about land purchase using South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation as a temporary intermediary to hold the land, can be found at link (The range will be in Meade not Pennington County)  There was  no public hearing for this January meeting but  the open forum began shortly after 2 p.m. CDT. To provide comments at “open Forum or public hearings, individuals  dial in via conference call or joined online via Zoom. To conduct the open forum as efficiently as possible GFP  asks those wishing to testify to register by 1:00 p.m. CDT by email to Rachel.comes@state.sd.us. Testifiers should provide their full names, whom they are representing, city of residence, and which proposed topic they will be addressing. This is typical for GFP Commission meetings  Link for more details about the meeting:  https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/information/   ====================================2022  ============================================================================================-================================================================================================October 22, 2021 Comments were Due – Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project (Project).

 The Draft EA is now available for the proposed Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Drilling Project (Project). The Draft EA is currently available for a 30-day agency and public review period, with all Project materials located on the Black Hills National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57428. During this time, comments on the Draft EA may be submitted via US Mail to:

Jim Gubbels at 8221 Mount Rushmore Rd, Rapid City, SD 57702

via email (Comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-mystic@usda.gov) with “F3 Jenny Gulch Gold Exploration Project” as the subject;

or by fax (605-343-7134).

Comments were due by Oct 22. Comments submitted are public information. This project is subject to 36 CFR 218 objection process.  
Please Act Today to ask for an extension of time, so that we can do a thorough review of the document, and so everyone who wants to make comments gets the opportunity to make comments.  Please use your own words about your concerns.  Some possible talking points :

  •  The draft Environmental Assessment is vague and incomplete.  An Environmental Impact Statement should be done.
  •  Tribal consultation and protection of cultural resources are incomplete.
  • Raptor nests and a bighorn sheep birthing area and migration route would be negatively impacted.
  • The Forest Service must analyze all potential impacts of the project.  This has not been done.

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Wednesday September 1st (afternoon) – Thursday September 2nd  (morning) was a past SD Game, Fish & Parks Commission Meeting in Rapid City at Outdoor Campus West with virtual & teleconference options

 

 

More meeting details were posted by GFP on this website just before the meeting and after the meeting: https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/information/ 

 

 

UPDATE – RESULTS OF THE SEPTEMBER COMMISSION MEETING

 

 

Update, the Commission passed both proposed rules on mountain lions with no changes from proposals. The Commission passed the rule on spring turkey with no changes from proposal. The only rule to which there was a change, was on blow guns used for fishing; they decided not to allow blow guns for fishing. Future action to protect mountain lions will be to contact federal and state land management agencies and ask them to prohibit hound hunting of mountain lions on their properties. Please watch for updates on that future campaign

 

 

BEAVER – They planned to have a report or proposal on beaver trapping/hunting in the Black Hills at the November meeting.  (Actually had at December meeting & no rule change was suggested.They need $30,000 to fund study to inventory the Black Hills beaver. Commissioners may bring the Black Hills beaver issue up again in March). People should spend the next few months, writing or contacting SDGFP staff or commissioners, asking for a moratorium on beaver hunting/trapping in the Black Hills Fire Protection District and also ask SDGFP to reduce the months of  beaver hunting/trapping from all other public land in SD, when the public land has a multiple use or wildlife management objective.  Currently trapping/hunting is allowed 365 days of the year statewide  on private and public land except on Black Hills National Forest land and a subset of private land in the Black Hills. Folks should ask for 5 months of beaver trapping statewide (not 12 months) on private & public land.  SD  has a law that allows folks with “conflict beaver” to call up SDGFP who will then allow them to kill the beaver. SDGFP staff will also come and kill beaver on request.   Folks should ask SDGFP to create a beaver management plan, so SDGFP can address the importance of beavers as creators of habitat, and protectors of surface and ground water values and provide options  for non-lethal management of conflict beaver. The legislature is considering a bill (SB 73) that would allow night hunting of beaver using night vision glasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain lion hunting season was among the rule proposals

 

 

Saturday 8/28/21 at midnight MT was the written comment deadline. Late comments go to the next month public record,  but folks can give oral testimony in person or virtually at the hearing on 9/1/21. Written comments can be submitted at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or at https://rules.sd.gov/Comments.aspx?Id=669 The only necessary written action on cougars that we suggest (besides filling in your contact info.)  is to check that you oppose the two proposed rules on Mountain Lion hunting in SD.  But scroll down for more explanation of issues and to have some text to add on if you wish.

 

 

 Rule change proposals up for a vote on Wednesday include other topics, which we list below

 

 

Terrestrial:

 

 

  1. Spring Turkey- reducing area available for hunting,
  2. Setting Mountain Lion Hunting Season in the state for another two years,
  3. Cougar hunting restrictions eroded to allow hound hunting in the prairie unit onto more public lands

 

Aquatic

  1. Changing fish limits in Iowa/SD Boundary waters,
  2. Allowing blow guns for fishing & setting limits on it,
  3. Hoop Nets and Setlines: adding floatlines to rule and setting fees and various limits on floatlines,nets & traps,
  4. Reducing various regulations on bait,
  5. Reducing regulations on fish hatcheries.
  6. Expanding ages within youth class at fish tournaments,
  7. Aquatic invasive species: increasing exemptions to rules about.

 

 

To see exact text of the  proposed rule changes go to the  LRC site –   visit: https://rules.sd.gov/agency.aspx?agency=GFP%20%20Game,%20Fish%20And%20Parks

 

 

Alert On Mountain Lion Seasons Rule Changes

 

 

Here is a link to the letter that Prairie Hills Audubon Society submitted to SD GFP:
https://www.scribd.com/document/522625630/Mountain-Lion-Comment-LetterF?secret_password=EUwQZb1IK9yVyf3B5FY5

 

 

If you go to these two links you can see what other individuals and NGOs – such as HSUS, MLF, Cougar Fund, SD-FACT wrote. The long formal letters are at the end of the PDF files, the shorter letters at the beginning. :

 

 

https://gfp.sd.gov/UserDocs/nav/PublicComments1.pdf https://gfp.sd.gov/UserDocs/nav/PublicCommission2.pdf

 

 

In the mean time, we suggest folks oppose both proposed rules changes for mountain lion hunting.

 

 

SD Mt. lion hunting is divided into the Black Hills Fire Protection District and every where else (Prairie unit). In the Prairie Unit there is 365 day hunting with no  harvest limit and hound hunting is allowed on private land (with land owner/lessor permission) and moving from private land to BLM and State School Lands. Hound hunting is allowed in Custer State Park in two week time segments alternating with two weeks of “boot hunting” (boot = no hounds used). The first two week session is given to hound hunting and thus for many years the boot hunters are out-competed and  have not gotten any lions.

 

 

The hunting season on the Black Hills Unit is too aggressive and will result in decreasing populations, perhaps dropping below the population below the population goals that SDGFP wants. We suggest  at least lowering the female lion harvest limit in the Black Hills unit.

 

 

We suggest people object to hound hunting of lions, which occurs on Custer State Park (a sub-set of Black Hills unit) and in the Prairie unit. You can object due to 1. animal cruelty to both  dogs and lions, 2. not fair chase, 3. provides huge advantage of success for hound hunters vs boot hunters  4. creates trespass risk, 5. disturbs non-target wildlife, livestock and other human users.  However they are making a specific change to increase hound hunting..by increasing the area of public land in the Prairie Unit where hound hunters can travel from private land to hunt on public land, to  include all of public lands unless public land manager specifically objects. Previously public land hound hunting in the Prairie unit was limited to expanding onto BLM and State School lands. . You can object specifically to that proposed increase in hound hunting area on the Prairie Unit.

 

 

We suggest allowing the boot hunters the first two week session in Custer State Park, for sake of boot hunters, lions & dogs.

 

 

Written comments were to  be submitted at https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ or at https://rules.sd.gov/Comments.aspx?Id=669

The rule change to allow hound hunting on the prairie unit on public land unless the land management agency specifically objects passed the Commission. We thus need to contact public land managers and ask them to object to hound hunting of lions on their property.

 

UPDATE ON LIONS – SD Legislature has HB 1296 – would treat cougars  (which by statute are a big game species in SD ) as if they were a “predator/varmint in the prairie unit and allow hunting without a license 365 days of a year.  This would take away from the GFP Commission the option to reduce the days in the hunting season for the prairie. Cougar advocates wanting  to reduce prairie unit hunting from year round would have to go lobby the legislature. Folks would not pay the license fee, which is $28 dollars . This bill was killed in committee (dead).

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 : If you want the Commission  to read your comments before March 3rd, submit by midnight CT on Sunday Feb 27th. Comments can be given to Commissioners directly as individuals at any time:

 

.Meade County wants 3 miles of gravel on Elk Vale road paved, but GFP is proposing to share maintenance costs

 by SDGFP