Rounds Statement on Meeting with Army Corps

 

WASHINGTON U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today issued the following statement after meeting with R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, regarding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ management of the Missouri River. The meeting comes more than two months after Rounds requested an in-person briefing.

Rounds and James meet in Rounds’ Washington, D.C., office on May 16, 2018

“I appreciate the opportunity to meet with Assistant Secretary James today to share my concerns about the Corps’ management of the Missouri River. We had a good exchange and I found his interest in working with us refreshing. We have agreed to continue work to address our concerns about the high water levels along the river, as well as make certain an appropriate monitoring system is in place. Flood control is priority number one. We also discussed issues in South Dakota regarding access to water in Corps-controlled land, so we can better use our water along the river system. We will continue to keep a close watch on the Corps’ management practices along the river to help avoid another flood and make certain South Dakotans’ concerns are adequately addressed.”

NEW PLAN AIMS TO REVERSE MONARCH BUTTERFLY DECLINE

 

File Photo

The Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) welcomes public comments through May 31 on a draft conservation plan that provides a blueprint for reversing the decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population.

The draft plan, called the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy, builds on existing efforts of state, federal, and local agencies and private organizations and individuals. It covers a 16-state region stretching from Texas to the Upper Midwest that encompasses the primary production and migratory habitat areas for eastern monarchs (see map). Other eastern monarch states are also collaborating with the plan.

The draft plan identifies conservation goals and strategies for improving habitats in various sectors or categories of land use such as natural areas, agricultural lands, urban lands, and rights of way. State wildlife agencies and partners will be working to add milkweed plants where lacking and to ensure diverse, nectar-plant-rich landscapes with blooming species during seasons when monarchs are present.

“In addition to their beauty, pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and other species provide important pollination services critical to our food supplies and economies,” said Terry Steinwand, MAFWA President. “This is the first phase of a long-term strategy that will require increased commitment of people and resources to support enhanced monarch and pollinator conservation and monitoring efforts by many partners over the next 20 years.”

Eastern monarchs, those found east of the Rocky Mountains, have declined by more than 80 percent over the past 20 years primarily due to habitat loss, including reduced milkweed required for reproduction and fewer nectar plants. In 2014 the monarch was petitioned for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, and a decision on whether listing is warranted is expected in 2019.

Monarchs produce multiple generations each year and undertake a lengthy fall migration from the U.S. and southern Canada to the forested mountains of central Mexico where they overwinter. The goal of the strategy is to coordinate state and partner efforts to restore and enhance habitat to support an average overwintering population in Mexico occupying about 15 acres (6 hectares), consistent with international goals.

The plan primarily focuses on voluntary and incentive-based habitat restoration and enhancement efforts, but also includes priority education and outreach, research, and monitoring needs related to monarch conservation.

For more information, a copy of the draft strategy, and how to submit comments, please visit the MAFWA website at Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy.

INTERAGENCY CUSTER COUNTY LANDOWNER WORKSHOP “PROTECT YOUR HOME AND PROPERTY” MAY 18, 2018

Custer, SD A landowner workshop, “Protect your home and property” will be held on Friday, May 18 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Argyle Fire Hall, 12000 Mountain Lion Lane, Hot Springs, SD.

Multiple agencies are working together to reach out to landowners, provide information on land stewardship and encourage management for more resilient forests across all lands.

Experts will discuss: living with fire; insect, weed and pine management; and technical assistance and cost-sharing programs available to landowners; followed by a field trip showing thinning and fuel treatment.

A free lunch will be offered.

The workshop is sponsored by Custer County Conservation District and the South Dakota Family Forest Association.

Cooperating agencies include South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) Resource Conservation & Forestry and SDDA Wildland Fire; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Custer County Weed & Pest; and US Forest Service.

Registration RSVP is appreciated by May 14 with Angie Keierleber, Custer County Conservation District, 605-673-4971 or e-mail custer.county@sdstate.edu.

EMERALD ASH BORER CONFIRMED IN SOUTH DAKOTA

Emerald Ash Borer, Photo:USDA

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) has confirmed that an infestation of emerald ash borer (EAB) has been discovered in northern Sioux Falls. This is the first confirmed infestation in South Dakota. Emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in at least 32 states.

On May 9, 2018, Secretary Mike Jaspers implemented an Emergency Plant Pest Quarantine in order to prevent or reduce the spread of the EAB. This emergency quarantine is effective immediately.

The quarantine restricts the movement of ash materials in all of Minnehaha County, in areas north of Highway 18 in Lincoln County and north of Highway 18 and east of Highway 19 in Turner County, unless accompanied by the appropriate authorization from the SDDA. These regulated ash materials include: ash nursery stock; ash logs, lumber, wood chips or mulch, including trimmed ash tree branches; and pallets made out of ash. Movement of firewood from any hardwood species, whether intended for commercial or private use, is also restricted within the quarantine area.

Ash trees within the quarantine area should not be pruned or removed unless absolutely necessary until after Labor Day to prevent spread of EAB. As a precautionary measure, people with ash trees in good condition within the quarantine area who want to save those trees should consider treating them now. Treatment information, as well as more information on EAB and response efforts, can be found by visiting emeraldashborerinsouthdakota.sd.gov the SDDA’s dedicated EAB webpage.

The SDDA is hosting EAB information forums on Thursday, May 10, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m. at the Game, Fish and Parks Outdoor Campus located at 4500 South Oxbow Avenue in Sioux Falls. These forums will provide important information for residents in the quarantine area on EAB and current efforts to limit its spread. Dr. John Ball, Forest Health Specialist for the SDDA and SDSU Extension Forester, as well as officials from the SDDA and the City of Sioux Falls, will present information and answer questions.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

2018 and 2019 Elk Hunting Seasons And 2018-2020 Pheasant Hunting Seasons Announced

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission allocated 222 licenses for the 2018 and 2019 archery elk hunting seasons. The season will run the month of September for both years and will have 142 any elk and 80 antlerless elk licenses available.

The 2018 and 2019 Black Hills elk hunting seasons will have 425 any elk and 700 antlerless elk licenses available for both years. The 2018 and 2019 prairie elk hunting seasons will have 68 any elk and 73 antlerless elk licenses available for both years.  Harding County (Unit 35A) has been added to the prairie elk hunting season.

Custer State Park any elk hunters are now allowed to firearm hunt the entire month of October with nine any elk licenses available.  In addition, 60 antlerless elk licenses are available among six different units with specified season dates for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.


 

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota pheasant hunting seasons have been set for the next three years.

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed no changes to the Youth, Resident Only and Traditional pheasant hunting seasons at their April meeting. Since no changes were proposed, these seasons are set for the next three years as described below.

Youth Pheasant

  • October 6-10, 2018
  • October 5-9, 2019
  • October 3-7, 2020

Resident Pheasant

  • October 13-15, 2018
  • October 12-14, 2019
  • October 10-12, 2020

Traditional Pheasant

  • October 20, 2018 – January 6, 2019
  • October 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020
  • October 17, 2020 – January 3, 2021

For more information on planning your next hunt, visit https://gfp.sd.gov/pheasant/.

GFP Commission Proposes Muzzleloader, Archery and Youth Deer Seasons Along With Other Proposals

 

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed that the muzzleloader deer hunting season run from Dec. 1, 2018 – Jan. 1, 2019, for both any deer and antlerless whitetail deer licenses.

As a result of a proposed limited access unit in portions of Hughes and Sully counties, it was proposed that this new unit be closed to where antlerless archery and muzzleloader licenses were previously valid.

The proposal requires Black Hills archery deer hunters to obtain and possess a free access permit. Access permits for the Black Hills will be issued on an unlimited basis.

The archery deer season was proposed to end on Jan. 1, 2019.

Like archery and muzzleloader deer seasons, the youth deer season will close on Jan. 1, 2019.

Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge, Waubay National Wildlife Refuge, and Waubay State Lake State Game Refuge archery seasons would also end on Jan. 1, except during the firearm deer hunting seasons already established for these refuges.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting this proposal on May 3-4 at Creekside Lodge in Custer State Park. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 3 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can also provide written comments on commission rule proposals by sending them to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501, or via email to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing) per HB 1006.


West River Deer Hunting Season Proposed

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed to reinstate days in which only antlerless licenses are valid for the West River season for 2018.

The proposed season would run:

  • Unit 30A (Gregory):       November 3-6 and November 19-25, 2018
  • All Other Units:              November 10-25, 2018
  • Antlerless Deer Tags:      December 8-16, 2018

The GFP Commission will consider adopting this proposal on May 3-4 at Creekside Lodge in Custer State Park. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 3 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can also provide written comments on commission rule proposals by sending them to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501, or via email to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing) per HB 1006.

 


East River Deer Hunting Season Proposed

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission proposed that the 2018 East River deer hunting season would have 175 less licenses available. It was proposed to adjust resident license numbers from no more than 21,085 one-tag and 5,250 two-tag licenses to no more than 20,900 one-tag and 5,250 two-tag licenses.

For 2018, the season would run from Nov. 17-Dec. 2. Antlerless tags would be valid Dec. 8-16 for late season hunting.

The Commission also proposed to create a new Limited Access Unit (Unit 59L) in Hughes and Sully counties limited to all Game Production Areas, Army Corps of Engineer, and Park Recreation Area Lands north of Oahe Dam in Hughes County and west of US Hwy 1804 to Bush’s Landing boat ramp in Sully County at 182nd St.; excluding the Spring Creek Recreation area. View the map here. This unit is all public land and landowner preference does not apply. Hunters must obtain a free access permit to hunt archery, muzzleloader, youth or mentored youth as required on other Limited Access Units.

To accommodate the new Limited Access Unit, other modifications were proposed:

  • Eliminate Unit 59B (that potion of Sully County east of U.S. Highway 83).
  • Modify Unit 59A to include all of Sully County except that portion within 59L.
  • Modify Unit 36A to include all of Hughes County, excluding that portion within Unit 59L, Farm Island Recreation Area, LaFramboise Island, and the land from the entrance to Farm Island west through the city of Pierre.

The GFP Commission will consider adopting this proposal on May 3-4 at Creekside Lodge in Custer State Park. To comment in person, the public hearing will be held May 3 at 2 p.m. MDT. Individuals can also provide written comments on commission rule proposals by sending them to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501, or via email to wildinfo@state.sd.us. To be included in the public record and to be considered by the Commission, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of 72 hours before the public hearing (not including the day of the public hearing) per HB 1006.

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PERDUE COMMITS TO “ONE FEDERAL DECISION” FRAMEWORK FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND PERMITS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS

Washington, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with other Trump Administration cabinet secretaries and leaders of federal agencies, committing to following the President’s One Federal Decision framework for processing environmental reviews and permits for major infrastructure projects. Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, One Federal Decision will drive infrastructure projects to meet environmental standards, but complete the review and permitting process in a reasonable amount of time.

“This MOU will eliminate the potential for conflicting decisions, so that project sponsors don’t get one answer from agency and another answer from another agency. In agriculture, we’ve gotten some of those mixed signals before, and they’re very frustrating,” Secretary Perdue said. “President Trump is making good on his promise to free our economy from needless regulations and bureaucratic delays, and One Federal Decision is another example.”

Many of the major projects the U.S. Department of Agriculture is involved in can be very complex and require input and decisions from many other federal agencies. Projects like the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, which require extensive research and inter-agency coordination, are challenging under the old system. Those challenges force agencies to wait extended periods for multiple redundant reviews before making decisions which, in some cases, are unrelated to the information being gathered, causing costly project delays, confusion about who is responsible for making decisions, and conflicting outcomes from multiple agency decisions.

President Trump established the policy of One Federal Decision for the federal government’s processing of environmental reviews and permits for major infrastructure projects in Executive Order 13807. Under One Federal Decision, Executive Order 13807 requires that each major infrastructure project have a lead federal agency that is responsible for navigating the project through the process, all Federal agencies to sign one “Record of Decision” (for purposes of complying with the National Environmental Policy Act), and relevant Federal agencies to issue the necessary permits for the project within 90 days of the signing of the Record of Decision. Executive Order 13807 established a 2-year goal for the completion of the environmental review and permitting processes for the signature of the Record of Decision and issuance of the necessary permits.

In signing the MOU, Perdue joined Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Secretary of the Army Mark Esper. Additional signatories to the MOU including the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Acting Executive Director of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council. These officials signed the MOU pursuant to a joint memorandum issued by Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Mary Neumayr, the Acting Chair of Wilbur Ross the Council on Environmental Quality.

Under the MOU, the agencies commit to working together to make the necessary environmental and permitting decisions for major infrastructure projects with a goal to complete the entire process within 2 years. In general, the MOU commits agencies to processing their reviews in accordance with the following 4 principles:

  1. Establish a Lead Federal Agency for the Complete Process. Under the current process, project sponsors are responsible for navigating the decision-making processes of multiple Federal agencies. Under the MOU, Federal agencies agree to establish one Lead Federal Agency that will navigate the Federal environmental review and permitting process.
  2. Commitment to Meeting the Lead Federal Agency’s Permitting Timetable. Under the current process, agencies are not generally required to follow a comprehensive permitting timetable. Under the MOU, Federal agencies agree to follow the permitting timetables established by the Lead Federal Agency with the goal of completing the process to 2 years.
  3. Commitment to Conduct the Necessary Review Processes Concurrently. Under the current process, agencies may conduct their own environmental review and permitting processes sequentially resulting in unnecessary delay, redundant analysis, and revisiting of decisions. Under the MOU, Federal agencies agree to conducting their processes at the same time and relying on the analysis prepared by the Lead Federal Agency to the maximum extent possible.
  4. Automatic Elevation of Interagency Disputes. Under the current process, interagency disputes sometimes linger for years in agency field offices before being elevated and resolved. Under the MOU, Federal agencies agree that interagency disputes will be automatically elevated and expeditiously resolved.

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THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT RETURNS FEBRUARY 16-19

PIERRE, S.D. – Millions of novice and accomplished bird watchers can make their love of nature count for science during the 21st Annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

On Feb. 16-19, anyone can count birds wherever they are and enter their results online. These reports create a real-time picture of where birds are across the continent and contribute valuable information for science and conservation.

“During the count, bird watchers tally up birds for as little as 15 minutes, or for as long as they like, keeping track of the highest number of each bird species they see together at one time,” said Eileen Dowd Stukel, wildlife diversity coordinator for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP). “People are encouraged to report birds from public lands, local parks and their own backyards.”

Participants enter their numbers online at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/get-started/ where they can explore sightings maps, lists and charts as the count progresses.

There is no fee to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. The event is led by the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.