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Wetland Symposium

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to Merge Wetland Policy and Management


South Dakota State University, Plant Science Building, Box 2109, Brookings, SD 57007

GIS provides a media for merging policy and land use. In Lake County, SD, GIS is being used to identify wetlands which overlay the Big Sioux Aquifer (a shallow unconfined aquifer which is vulnerable to agricultural pollutants) and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands. Wetlands which have been located using the GIS will be evaluated to determine their relationship to ground-water. In addition, information about adjacent non-CRP land use, wildlife potential, Land Capability Class, and soil type will be gathered.

Ground-water recharge wetlands will be considered high-risk wetlands because of their potential to transport agrichemicals. These high-risk wetlands will be used as models to outline appropriate management systems (including government programs) upon expiration of CRP contracts. For example, the high-risk wetlands could receive priority consideration for enrollment in the Wetland Reserve Program or as part of the Water Quality Incentive Program. If a high risk wetland has good wildlife/habitat potential, it may be appropriate for a wildlife easement or may be attractive for incentive programs offered by organizations such as Ducks Unlimited. The ultimate objective of the project is to offer land management solutions to farmers and policy makers prior to CRP contract expirations.

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