Our organization is involved in numerous campaigns to protect biodiversity in the Black Hills, western South Dakota and the surrounding region.
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, forest, grasslands, and waterways of western South Dakota These habitats support many imperiled species such as the American dipper, lake chub, sturgeon chub, blackhills mountain snail, greater sage grouse, and black-footed ferrets. The Black Hills is isolated, ringed by prairie and species were disconnected from boreal habitat and start to develop as sub-species with unique genetics. There are species that are less threatened but still at risk. There are species can be in conflict with humans and thus killed. We work to protect “at risk” species – both at the state and federal levels.
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. We also work to protect the many rivers of western SD/north east Wyoming such as Sand Creek, Elk Creek, the Cheyenne, Belle Fourche, White and Little White Rivers. We have also worked to protect water quality with better pollution enforcement
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. We are working to protect beavers, who develop pond and wetland habitat. We have worked to protect public access to South Dakota’s non-meandered lakes.
- 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 drainages of Missouri River, Cheyenne River, Sand Creek, Belle Fourche River & Elk Creek, White and Little White River.
- 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 or seven species of land snail, black-footed ferret, prairie dog, swift fox, Black Hills fishes (lake chub, fine-scaled dace etc.), sturgeon chub, 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, old growth forest or beaver dams.
- Monitoring wildlife control programs, such as Rapid City deer or SD blackbirds kill plans, and management plans for other “conflict wildlife” such as predators or “varmints”.
- Protecting the Black Hills and Custer National Forest from depredations of mining.
- Protection of water quality in SD and NE Wyoming.
- Watchdogging major development plans such as Rosebud’s hog farm, DME Railroad expansion and Rally development around Bear Butte.
- Supporting environmental justice for minority people of SD.
- Protection of Air Quality in SD and NE Wyoming
- Mitigation of and research related to climate change
- Reducing the rate of human population growth
Hyperlink to the PDF handout Prairie Hills Audubon Society uses about our campaigns: