Our organization is involved in numerous campaigns to protect biodiversity in the Black Hills, western South Dakota and the surrounding region.

Black Hills

The Black Hills are a priceless forested jewel in the vast Northern Great Plains.  The southern Hills are primarily ponderosa pine forests whereas much of the northern Hills is boreal forest similar to what is found in Canada.  Oak savannas can be found on the edge of the Hills.  Much of this land lies within the Black Hills National Forests.  However, that Forest is one of the most roaded and degraded in the USFS system.  We work hard to protect what’s left and to restore what is restorable.

Diverse wildlife can be found in the prairies, forest, grasslands, and waterways of western South Dakota Badlands National Park is often reported as the largest remaining tract of protected prairie in the United States.  These habitats support many imperiled species such as black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, mountain lions, beavers, otters and birds. We have several campaigns that change in priority based on what is currently happening in the state.  You can learn more about each of these wildlife campaigns by clicking the button below.


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The prairies and grasslands of western South Dakota include some of the best remaining grasslands in North America.  For example, Badlands National Park is often reported as the largest remaining tract of protected prairie in the United States.  South Dakota’s grasslands support many imperiled species such as black-footed ferrets, prairie dogs, and several species of butterfly.


Lewis and Clark travelled the Missouri River in their famous journey to explore western North America.  Although the river has now been dammed, channelized, and otherwise altered, some natural flowing stretches can be found in South Dakota.  And several listed species such as the least tern, piping plover, and pallid sturgeon call the South Dakota reach of the river home.


The Prairie Hills Audubon Society works to conserve our valuable wetlands in South Dakota.  Wetlands have enormous benefits to people including for flood control, water purification, groundwater recharge.  They are also places of enormous biodiversity and of value to both birdwatchers and sportsmen and sportswomen.

Conservation Campaigns

  • General management of our public lands in our region (National Grasslands and Forests, BLM, Parks and Refuges).

  • Protection of roadless and wild areas, especially Sand Creek Roadless Area (Black Hills National Forest) in Wyoming.

  • Protection of rivers and wetland habitat, especially the Missouri River, Cheyenne River, Sand Creek/ Belle Fourche River, and White River drainages.

  • Protection of wildlife and plant species-at-risk including state and federal listed species and Forest Service sensitive species. These include: piping plover, interior least tern, sturgeon chub, sage grouse, mountain plover, six species of land snail, black-footed ferret, prairie dog, swift fox, Black Hills fishes (lake chub, fine-scaled dace etc.), goshawk, dipper, jumping mice, black-backed, Lewis, and northern three-toed woodpecker, brown creeper, and pygmy nuthatch.

  • Protection of imperiled ecosystems/habitat in our region, especially the prairie dog ecosystem and old growth forest.

  • Monitoring wildlife control programs, such as Rapid City deer or SD blackbirds kill plans, aerial hunting of predators, mountain lion and prairie dog management plans.

  • Protecting the Black Hills and Custer National Forest from depredations of mining.

  • Protection of water quality in SD and Black Hills of Wyoming.

  • Watchdogging major development plans such as Rosebud’s hog farm, DME Railroad expansion or coal bed methane development in Wyoming.

  • Supporting environmental justice for minority people of SD.

  • Northern Plains Conservation Network – long term project to restore large grassland ecosystems in the Northern Great Plains.

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Prairie Hills Audubon Society’s Campaigns Handout