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NRCS Engineering Helps Landowners During Drought - Pond Initiative Successful | by USDA NRCS South Dakota
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NRCS Engineering Helps Landowners During Drought - Pond Initiative Successful

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees, Sandy Huber, Martin, and Gerald Miller, Rapid City, using a laser level to ensure that the grade of this pond is to standards.




NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS), Rapid City, SD—USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) provided engineering technical assistance to producers in western South Dakota. Drought, unfortunately, has become a concern and livestock producers are concerned about water quantity and water quality.


The NRCS has been assisting livestock producers with issues with water for livestock through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a Farm Bill program. The EQIP has helped immensely with water development for conservation purposes. NRCS provides conservation technical assistance for anyone and this voluntary program, EQIP, can provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland through contracts.


One specific part of this program, called the “Pond Initiative” is helping with the repairing and/or replacing of existing ponds that have gone beyond their lifespan on Tribal Range Units in Shannon, Bennett and Dewey counties. According to Roy Boschee, Area Engineer at USDA NRCS in Rapid City, this initiative is, “very important right now because a lot of the ponds in western South Dakota are actually nearing the end of their design life and are in desperate need of repair or replacement all together. The “Pond Initiative” is providing financial support to those limited or underserved producers.” Roy also states that, “At this time work on 31 of these ponds has been completed during Fiscal Year 2012 alone with nine more projects in the works.”


One such completed pond work belongs to Ross Cuny, rancher, in Shannon County, SD. Cuny says “If it wasn’t for the pond initiative through EQIP, I would not have water at all in my pasture. The two new dugouts that are now installed provide water that gets the cattle to graze in different parts of the pasture that they normally wouldn’t graze this time of year. I need the cattle to utilize these areas during dry years like this one. And, now I am getting better pasture management because of the NRCS assistance and the water developments.”


For further information about conservation practices and programs, please contact your local USDA NRCS field office or go to for more information.


USDA NRCS Photos by Bobbie Davis, NRCS, Rapid City, SD

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Taken on July 9, 2012