Environmental issues

South Dakota State University

Dr. David Graper is professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He’s also the SDSU Extension Interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program and former director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum. He joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about clematis, blue spruce trees, planting onions, corn suckers and fall planting.

Amy Benson US Geological Survey

South Dakota was one of the last states east of the Rocky Mountains to be free of invasive zebra and quagga mussels. But that changed last fall. A single adult zebra mussel was detected at the Midway Boat Ramp on the Missouri River's Lewis and Clark Lake near Yankton. Larval quagga mussels were discovered in water samples collected in the Cheyenne River's Angostura Reservoir.


Dr. David Graper is professor of horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings. He’s also the SDSU Extension Interim Coordinator of the South Dakota Master Gardener Program and former director of McCrory Gardens and the South Dakota Arboretum. He joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about clover in lawns, linden trees, hydrangeas, shade plants and Shasta daisies.

Amanda Bachmann

According to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, there are about 216 South Dakotans keeping bees. Around 93 of these producers maintain their bees on a commercial scale. The state usually ranks in the top five states for number of hives. South Dakota also ranks second in the nation for honey production.

SDSU Extension

After the driest January through April on record, much of South Dakota received a soaking in May. But the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows a large area of eastern South Dakota still with dry conditions. However, likely wetter conditions will continue to reduce precipitation deficits in those places as more rain in expected this week. SDSU Climate Field Specialist Laura Edwards joined Dakota Midday and discussed the wet May and what’s ahead for the summer.

Norm Evers On Gardening/Planting

Jun 1, 2015

Norm Evers, owner of Norm's Greenhouse and Nursery in Aurora, answered questions about gardening, planting and trees among other topics during Dakota Midday's bi-weekly segment on horticulture.

Hoffman Answers Gardening Questions

May 18, 2015

Julie Hoffman of East River Nursery in Huron joined Dakota Midday on Monday to take questions about gardening, planting and horticulture.  The segment is a bi-weekly feature of Dakota Midday from spring through autumn and includes experts from around the state.

Friends Of The Big Sioux River

May 18, 2015

The newly formed non-profit, Friends of the Big Sioux River, held a press conference last Thursday to announce its vision to realize "a clean, healthy river for all to enjoy and share with pride."  In 2012, the Big Sioux was identified as the 13th dirtiest river in the nation.  Friends of the Big Sioux River was formed to bring awareness to the current condition of the waterway and to inspire action among all who influence its quality.  Matthew McLarty of the Environmental Law & Policy Center of South Dakota, Greg Veerman of Astronaut Studios and Friends of the Big Sioux River director

Norm's Greenhouse and Nursery

Norm Evers joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about planting sugar maples, mulching with wood, Creeping Charlie and Jenny and more. Norm Evers is Instructor Emeritus of Horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings and former manager of McCrory Gardens. He’s the owner of Norm’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Aurora.

National Park Service

Fire is one of the management tools used at Wind Cave National Park in the southern Black Hills to help maintain the health and natural balance of the grassland and forest. The park uses prescribed fires to achieve a more "natural" state by reducing accumulated fuel levels, reducing ponderosa pine encroachment on the grasslands, and eliminating exotic plants and increasing the diversity and health of native plant species.

Photo by JT Thomas

Colorado writer Craig Childs travels to some of the world’s most desolate and challenging places and reflects on the millions of years of change on Earth. In his latest book, Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth, Childs goes from the driest deserts of Chile to the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea to understand what could be next.

South Dakota Missouri River Tourism

According to a recent survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, birding ranks as the 15th most popular outdoor recreational activity in the country. And the interest in birding is expected to grow over the next 50 years. Spring is perhaps the most exciting time for birders as they welcome the return of their feathered friends after a long winter.

Wikimedia commons

Norm Evers joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about fruit trees, grass seed, trimming mulberry trees, early spring planting and more. Norm Evers is Instructor Emeritus of Horticulture at South Dakota State University in Brookings and former manager of McCrory Gardens. He’s the owner of Norm’s Greenhouse and Nursery in Aurora.

NPS Asks Public To "Find Your Park"

Apr 20, 2015
Courtesy Badlands National Park

The National Park Service is asking members of the public to participate in a nationwide educational program called “Find Your Park”. As SDPB’s Jim Kent reports, the goal is for visitors to find and their favorite park and then share their stories on-line at the FindYourPark.com site.

Four years ago researchers in Antarctica completed drilling a nearly 11,000 foot column of ice. It's the second deepest ice core ever drilled and the longest ever done by U.S. scientists. Some of the ice is up to 100,000 years old. Researchers have been studying the gas bubbles trapped in the ancient polar ice to get answers to key questions about past climate changes.

Pine Engraver Beetles Poised For Attack During Drought

Apr 15, 2015

Over the last decade Mountain Pine Beetles have changed the landscape of the Black Hills—they’ve killed thousands of acres of trees.
But they aren’t the only beetle that likes to attack ponderosa pines.  Officials warn this year the conditions are ripe for an increase in the Ips beetle also known as the Pine Engraver Beetle. 

GF&P Aims To Bump Up Elk Population

Apr 8, 2015
Wind Cave National Park / National Park Service

The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Department wants to increase the number of elk in the Black Hills.

Currently officials estimate the Black Hills wintertime elk population at about 6,300.  They hope to boost that to 7,000 over the next five years. 

Chad Switzer is with the Game Fish and Parks Department in Pierre.   Switzer says the elk population is growing.  

He says officials want to keep that growth in check with increased hunting this spring.

Northern Long Eared Threatened Listing

Apr 6, 2015
Dr. Kristen Page / Biology Dept, Wheaton College

The Northern Long Eared Bat is now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is hoping to protect the bats from further harm from White Nose Syndrome—it’s a fungus that has decimated the population in some states.

SDSU Extension

A new $5 million drainage water management research project is exploring the economic and environmental benefits, as well as costs, of on-farm water storage. The project is investigating practices that can reduce crop losses from increasing drought and can improve water quality from drained farmland.

SDSU Extension Water Management Engineer Chris Hay is among researchers from seven other Land Grant universities participating in the project funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Chris Hay joined Dakota Midday and discussed the water research project.

John O'Neill

With temperatures in the 70s early this week and tulips popping up, it's starting to feel like spring throughout South Dakota.

Norm Evers of Norm's Greenhouse and Nursery joined Dakota Midday and answered listener questions about watering trees, caring for fig trees, planting cherry trees and repairing brown patches in lawns.

Jon Stahl

As the self-described “world’s first stand-up economist,” Yoram Bauman has made a career out of economics humor,  performing his act in comedy clubs, professional conferences and colleges. He's also the co-author of three cartoon textbooks: The Cartoon Introduction to Microeconomics, The Cartoon Introduction to Macroeconomics and The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change.

SDSU Extension

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has released its seasonal drought outlook. For April through June, forecasters expect drier than average conditions for the eastern edge of South Dakota. The latest weekly U.S. drought monitor map released on Thursday shows 82 percent of the state as either abnormally dry or in moderate drought conditions.

Photo by Jay Adkins

Kristen Iversen’s book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, is part memoir and part investigation. She grew up in the 1960s and 70s near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory. Her father was a lawyer and her mother a housewife. She and her brother and two sisters had dogs and horses and played outdoors in what seemed like an idyllic landscape. 

Vandana Shiva is an internationally-known advocate for sustainable agriculture. She argues that biodiversity produces more nutrition and health per acre, thus addressing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty on a global scale.

The Delhi-based activist challenges the safety of genetically modified seeds, claiming they also harm the environment, are more costly and leave local farmers deep in debt as well as dependent on suppliers. She's the author of more than 20 books, including Making Peace with the Earth.

Temperatures are expected to reach into the 60s over most of South Dakota today. Wednesday could see highs creeping into the 70s in some spots. Current weather conditions have led to a very high fire danger in the Black Hills area. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Wednesday for areas south of I-90 and west of the Missouri River. South Dakota fire meteorologist Darren Clabo joined Dakota Midday and discussed the current fire danger across the state and what March conditions could mean for the summer fire season.


During tough winters, hungry deer often eat hay and other stored livestock feed. South Dakota State University researchers are currently exploring fall cover crops that will attract deer and provide nutrient-rich winter forage. Preliminary results show that turnips and radishes are the top two choices followed by peas.

The research project is in its final year and focuses on eastern South Dakota. It’s funded by a three-year grant from the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration, administered by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

A report published last week in Science Advances predicts extended and severe drought for the American Southwest and central Great Plains. The analysis says the drought will be the worst in nearly 1,000 years with drying even more extreme than previously predicted. According to the study, the drought period is expected to begin between 2050 and 2100.

Gene J. Puskar AP

It’s Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. According to the weather-forecasting rodent, that means six more weeks of winter. That’s probably not what some people want to hear, especially in southeastern South Dakota which was hit with up to eight inches of snow over the weekend. The snow has been followed by sub-zero wind chills.

Library of Congress

In the summer of 1910, a massive wildfire devoured more than three million acres in the Northern Rockies in 36 hours. Some 78 firefighters perished in the flames. The catastrophe occurred at time when the U.S. Forest Service was only a few years old, firefighting was a primitive science and conservation of America’s public lands was controversial. Over a century later, the legacy of what's become known as the Big Burn can be measured in the growth of the U.S. Forest Service and fire suppression policies.

Photo by Ken Bouc; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Weighing up to 80 pounds and growing up to a length of six feet, the pallid sturgeon is one of the largest fresh water fish species in North America. It can also live 50 years or more. But even though pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line going back tens of millions of years, it’s been decades since there has been documentation of the large fish successfully producing young that survive into adulthood on the upper Missouri River basin. The pallid sturgeon was placed on the endangered species list 25 years ago.