Good For Landowners, Good For Ducks

Good For Landowners, Good For Ducks
DU Conservation Biologist helps with WRP demand.

Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited

BROOKINGS, S.D. –-( Landowners can benefit their operations, improve water quality and control flooding all while conserving wetlands for waterfowl and other wildlife through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).

Ducks Unlimited (DU) Conservation Biologist, Dan Limmer is working in partnership with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) to find these win-win opportunities and address the tremendous demand for WRP in eastern South Dakota.

Limmer’s position was created through a partnership with SDGFP, NRCS and DU. Through the NRCS’s Red River Basin Initiative, Limmer is working in NRCS field offices helping interested landowners address flood control and water quality issues. On board since April, Limmer has already helped secure 54 WRP contracts conserving just under 5,000 acres.

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“My position was created because there is tremendous interest in WRP from landowners in eastern South Dakota,” Limmer said. “The NRCS needed help with the significant workload that goes along with administering this program, and the workload keeps growing.”

Currently in South Dakota there are over 1,000 WRP easements in place conserving nearly 80,000 acres. With Limmer’s help, DU, SDGFP and NRCS hope to expand that number and work with the landowners who have been waiting for WRP contracts.

“This partnership has worked out exceptionally well,” said Curtis Elke, assistant state conservationist with the NRCS. “The demand for WRP has grown exponentially in the last few years, and we are hoping to add another person like Dan to help us serve our customers’ requests.”

WRP is a voluntary program that helps landowners protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property.

The NRCS administers the program and provides incentives and technical assistance for landowners with the goal of restoring wetland functions to the landscape and providing quality wildlife habitat.

In the end, landowners benefit by being compensated for retiring marginal land from agriculture and the landscape benefits by the conservation of soil, water and wetland resources.

“WRP is an exceptional program for many, and with the amount of rainfall we have received in recent years, it is helping landowners continue to receive income from land that has less production value,” Elke said.

“I am a producer and I grew up on a farm so I bring that perspective to this job, I know the problems landowners face with management and conservation and have a good idea what they are looking for in a conservation program,” Limmer said.

Limmer has a strong background in natural resources. He has worked for South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks as a habitat biologist and watershed project coordinator as well a conservation officer.

Limmer also has experience in natural resources policy, working for several non-government conservation organizations as a private consultant.

If you are interested in sighing up for WRP you can contact Dan Limmer through the NRCS Brookings Field Support Office, 523rd Ave., Brookings, S.D., 605-692-2344.

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

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