News

FBSR Patagonia Grant Winner

FBSR is honored to be selected by the Great Outdoor Store to receive a $5,000 grant through the Patagonia Retail Grant Program. As with all Patagonia grants programs, the Retail Grants Program supports small grassroots activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas, working strategically on multipronged campaigns to preserve and protect our environment. They help local groups working to protect local habitats and frontline communities through bold, original actions.

We’re excited about the possibilities and the true impact this grant will make on the Big Sioux River and surrounding communities. Future posts will highlight ways you can get involved to directly help with our plans to make the Big Sioux River swimmable by 2025.

Thanks again to the Great Outdoor Store and Patagonia!

What’s Good for the Topeka Shiner is Good for People

Governors Daugaard of South Dakota and Dayton of Minnesota advocate vegetated buffer strips along our prairie rivers as a practical and low-cost method for reducing water pollution, saving wetlands, enhancing wildlife habitat and protecting our soils.  As a result of this leadership, the Governors may also accomplish, unintentionally, a conservation goal that federal agencies have been avoiding for years — creating a recovery plan for endangered species in the Big Sioux, James, Vermillion and Rock Rivers.

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FBSR Partners with Butterfly House & Aquarium

Friends of the Big Sioux River will partner with the Butterfly House & Aquarium in offering events and educational exhibits throughout 2017. The goals of the Butterfly House is to increase pollinator habitat, and to reduce runoff from Midwestern watersheds that contribute to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. These goals are similar to the FBSR goals of clean water by reducing runoff through the expansion of vegetated riparian strips along waterways, and sustainable development and landscape practices in urban centers. These buffer strips will increase pollinator habitat while decreasing chemical runoff, which will decrease South Dakota’s contribution to the dead zone.

 

The first event will be held on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd at the Butterfly House on the Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls. More details will be announced on this event and future events in the upcoming weeks. If you are not bfamiliar with this attraction we’ve provided a link to the Butterfly House /Aquarium to learn more.

https://butterflyhousemarinecove.org/

Update: Senate Bill 66

Senate Bill 66  – This bill reduces taxes on land planted in vegetated riparian buffer strips along waterways. It reduces the property taxes paid on 50′ to 120′ wide buffer strips by 40% . This is a voluntary action by the landowner and is not a mandatory action. We support this bill as it removes the tax disincentive for maintaining buffer strips along waterways and lakes in South Dakota.

This bill has passed both houses and we expect the Governor to sign the bill into law. 

Although this bill covers over 11,000 miles of rivers and streams, it does not cover all streams and lakes that may be very important to local communities. Hopefully, future legislative sessions will find ways to address these specific water bodies.. 

Fueling Destruction

The federal mandate to blend corn-based ethanol with gasoline has resulted in a number of unintended and devastating consequences. The recent demand for corn to fill our fuel tanks–as well as feed ourselves and our livestock–has prompted landowners to turn more and more of their lands into fields. As a result, deforestation rates in the upper plains have more than doubled, grasslands have been removed from CRP, wildlife habitat have been destroyed, water quality has declined, and water consumption has increased. The following report details the unintended effects of an ethanol-driven fuel economy and calls on Congress to fix the Renewable Fuel Standard. Read more at “Fueling Destruction.”

SD Legislative Updates

  • Senate Bill 9 & 10 Defeated. Last week the River Basin Natural Resource Districts bill was before the Senate Ag & Natural Resource Committee. This bill originally started with our backing as it would change water management in our state, primarily drainage law, from a county basis to an entire watershed management system, which is a better water management practice. Unfortunately, it was amended along the way and the bills in front of the Senate Committee removed all citizens living in Class 1 cities from having any vote in how water was managed by these new Districts. It also started chopping up current Water Development Districts which have worked for cleaner water through the years. For these reasons we opposed the bill, and it was defeated in committee.

 

  • ​​Senate Bill 66 This is the Governor’s Riparian Strip Bill which we will support. This bill sets up a new ag- land tax classification for vegetated riparian buffer strips along waterways. It reduces the property taxes paid on 50′ to 120′ wide buffer strips by 40% . This is a voluntary action by the landowner and is not a mandatory action. We support this bill as it removes the tax disincentive for maintaining buffer strips along waterways and lakes in South Dakota.

CATCH UP ON YOUR RIVER NEWS!

Read past issues of Friends of the Big Sioux River Monthly.