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Forest Service funds Black Hills, prairie restoration projects

A logging machine in the Black Hills.
Black Hills National Forest
A logging machine in the Black Hills.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has announced over $1,000,000 of funding in support of the Tribal Forest Protection Act.

The act provides over $700,000 dollars to projects in the Black Hills region. The projects will operate under a partnership involving multiple South Dakota and North Dakota tribes.

Tribes include the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes of North and South Dakota.

The U.S. Forest Services said the Black Hills restoration project includes forest health treatments, restoring traditional plant life, and incorporating indigenous knowledge. The 3,500-acre treatment project area spans across the Northern Hills, Mystic, and Hell Canyon Ranger Districts on the Black Hills National Forest. The work will be accomplished with hand tools and chainsaws.

In addition, the Fort Pierre National Grasslands and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and Reservation will receive $100,000 dollars to restore prairie habitats.

Restoration includes grassland bird and pronghorn research, wildfire management, livestock grazing, fish habitat enhancement, and weed control.

The Forest Service said they are excited to get the projects in motion and plan the collaborative effort to be complete within three years.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.