Local Riparian Easement Programs Rise Again
There are two riparian easement programs operating to protect the local watersheds. The programs involve both a revival of a proven program, the Big Sioux River Conservation Easement Program, now entitled East Dakota Riparian Restoration and Protection Project, (EDRRPP) and the initiation of a new program as part of the Central Big Sioux River Watershed Project.
EDRRPP was initiated by East Dakota Water Development District (EDWDD) and is sponsored by Northern Prairies with funding provided through EDWDD and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources 319 grant program. It will cover the same nine-county area as EDWDD in eastern SD. The Central Big Sioux River Watershed Project is sponsored by the Moody County Conservation District, and Northern Prairies is assisting with the riparian easement aspect of that project. This project will cover the lower portion of the Big Sioux River Watershed and offers a variety of conservation practices in addition to easements.
First Central Big Sioux Riparian Easement
The first riparian easement in the Central Big Sioux River Watershed Project was granted in February on property in Minnehaha County. The Big Sioux River runs through the heavily wooded portion of this property and is subject to significant erosion problems. By agreeing to incorporate the protective buffer the landowner is taking action to help improve water quality in an area just upstream from South Dakota’s largest city, Sioux Falls. The easement was purchased with funding from Sioux Falls.