South Dakota Roadside Mowing: Hold off until after July 10

Fort Pierre National Grassland South Dakota
South Dakota Roadside Mowing: Hold off until after July 10
South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks
South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks

South Dakota  -(Ammoland.com)- The South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) and Transportation (DOT) want to remind individuals there are laws and rules governing when mowing of highway right-of-way ditches can begin.

Administrative Rule 70:04:06:06 states in part that no right-of-way ditch mowing may be done before July 10 east of the Missouri River. The DOT may mow medians and ditches within the right-of-way prior to that date to control noxious weeds and provide increased safety to the traveling public.

In accordance with the administrative rule, abutting landowners on state highways are given preference to mow right-of-way ditches. Other persons wishing to mow must obtain a waiver from the abutting landowner.

Any person wanting to mow Interstate right-of-way ditches must apply for a permit, with preference being given to abutting landowners. Other persons wishing to mow must also obtain a waiver from the abutting landowner. The permit application and waiver are available at: www.sddot.com/resources/forms/.

The administrative rule was adopted in part to protect hen pheasants seeking suitable nesting locations. “Roadside ditches provide valuable nesting cover for hen pheasants, especially in portions of the state with limited lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or other upland nesting habitat,” stated Tony Leif, GFP Division of Wildlife director.

Pheasant production is diminished when ditches are mowed prior to completion of nesting activity. Incubating hens nearing their hatch dates can be struck and killed by hay-mowing equipment. Hens and newly hatched broods remain susceptible to mowing equipment for another two weeks after hatching due to the restricted mobility of chicks and the tendency of the hen and young to hide from approaching danger rather than flushing to escape.

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