With the demand for farmland drainage increasing in South Dakota, a back log of wetland determination applications have been piling up in the Natural Resource Conservation Service offices. Even with additional funding from the federal government for extra staff(see below), they simply don’t have enough people to meet the sharp rise in demand. To help relieve both farmers and the NRCS from years of back log, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association asked for the certification of Wetland Determination Consultants who could work privately for farmers making a determination on their property. The use of a consultant is not free but does speed up your installation timeline considerably.
Currently, SDCGA is aware of three certified consultants in South Dakota available to producers:
- Brian Top, Hefty Seed Co., 605-359-5108
- Karen Cameron-Howell, Wetland Specialists Inc., 605-695-3189
- Wayne Bachman, Wetland Specialists Inc., 605-201-1097
Additional NRCS hires
Through the request of several Midwestern states that are also having similar back log issues, the federal government issued additional funding for new hires to be solely dedicated to wetland determinations. The South Dakota NRCS office has hired seven new staff and reassigned 3 other employees to work strictly on this issue. Each of those 10 employees has been assigned to one of the following offices: Brookings, Clark, Clear Lake, Flandreau, Huron, Madison, Milbank, Mitchell, Salem and Sioux Falls. These employees have finished their federal training and are currently working with experienced mentors out in the field. A few are expected to be on their own prior to the year’s end with the rest going solo in the spring.
SD NRCS Wetland Determination Stats for 2011: 2,633 determinations completed/4,750 remain outstanding.
The NRCS expects to surpass 3,000 determinations before year’s end. In 2010, they completed just over 2,000.