Landowners: Remember to heed mowing restrictions Landowners who are mowing state highway ditches this spring need to remember that they are not only threatening wildlife populations, they are also breaking the rules.
A SD Department of Transportation rule prohibits the mowing of state highway rights-of-way before July 10 in eastern South Dakota and before June 15 in areas west of the Missouri River.
Game, Fish and Parks Secretary John Cooper said the restriction is important for the state's wildlife, especially the ring-necked pheasant.
"It is absolutely essential that birds nesting in this heavy cover remain undisturbed," Cooper said. "The rule was set in place to protect the birds and their nests. With the tough winter we just experienced in many parts of the state, we will need a strong, successful nesting effort to replenish our bird numbers. I encourage all producers to delay their mowing as long as possible to give nesting hens a chance to hatch their broods. The period starting now through mid-July is the critical nesting period."
Department of Transportation Secretary Ron Wheeler agreed.
"We are certainly not opposed to people mowing ditches, but it is important that they wait until the nesting season is over," he said.
Call the DOT at (605) 773-3265 for more information.