“What’s good for the bird, is good for the herd,” Jessica Howell of the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) states in a new video released by the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts (SDACD) that focuses on the Long-billed Curlew in Harding, Perkins, and Meade counties.
The “Cattle, Curlews, and Conservation” video showcases one of South Dakota’s Conservation Implementation Strategy (CIS) Projects in action and the locally led conservation efforts of the partners and producers involved. Grassland bird numbers are declining as native grasslands and rangelands are converted to cropland, industrial, and developmental purposes. This project addresses wildlife habitat quality as a primary resource concern using the Long-billed Curlew as a focal species. America’s largest shorebird was chosen as the project’s focal species because it needs both short and long grass for brood rearing and therefore encompasses habitat needs for many other grassland birds.
The goal of the project is to improve and increase the amount of prime habitat within a core Long-billed Curlew area in parts of Harding, Perkins, and Meade counties. Practices that improve grazing management and increase grassland habitat through perennial seedings will help the birds in this area thrive.
“Holistically when you have good rangeland habitat, when you have good bird habitat, you also do have good soil health, and you’ve got the diversity of vegetation and you know, you’ve got a healthier operation and a healthier landscape for it, so it does all definitely come together like that” says Howell.
Producers interested in participating in the Long-billed Curlew CIS must sign up by November 4, 2022, as that is South Dakota’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services final batching period for the Curlew CIS. See the full active list of CIS projects across the state here.