FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) A new District Ranger was recently named for the Fort Pierre National Grasslands. Dan Svingen had served as the Acting District Ranger since May of last year but was recently chosen to hold the job on a permanent basis. Svingen’s last job was as Wildlife Program Manager on the Dakota Prairie Grasslands in North Dakota. He says of the 20 U.S. Forest Service’s National Grasslands in 17 states; he’s been to all but one and says the Fort Pierre National Grasslands has long been his favorite. Svingen had visited the central South Dakota grasslands in recent years and was already familiar with the area before he moved to the state. Svingen says the mixed grass prairie vegetation on the Fort Pierre National Grasslands is managed well for both livestock grazing and for wildlife that call the grasslands home.
The Fort Pierre National Grasslands is made up of about 116,000 acres of federal land just south of Fort Pierre. Svingen says the grassland acreage appears to be in good shape right now.
Svingen is concerned if moisture levels don’t pick up soon, the grasslands forage could start to dry out. As for projects to be done this year, Svingen says a prescribed burn will be conducted on 300 acres in the southwest corner of the grasslands in late April or early May. He also says work is underway to put together a grasslands plant and bird species checklist and grasslands staff will meet soon with ranchers who graze their cattle on the grasslands to plan pasture rotation.
The Fort Pierre National Grasslands draws visitors year-round for activities from fishing in grasslands ponds to hunting, prairie dog shooting and bird watching.
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