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While there is a major drive for pheasant populations across the United States to increase, there is a financial cost for these efforts. The price that Tom Landwehr, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner for Minnesota, has tagged onto the efforts runs into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The estimated costs are based on the state’s pheasant restoration program that was announced recently by Gov. Mark Dayton. And those costs are only for the state.

According to the commissioner, the funds would be collected from various sources but would include $40 million from state bonding that would be collected over the next four years. This would help accelerate the buying of lands for the state wildlife management areas.

However, this money is not exactly guaranteed. Lawmakers have to approve the use of the funding for the purpose of pheasant restoration.

A small proportion of the funds will have to be collected from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. However, the exact amount that can be allocated from this is uncertain. Currently, there is $100 million annually from this fund. More will have to be requested and it will require the partnership of organizations like Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited to push through the request of additional funds.

This money will be used to help expand grasslands and restore wetlands throughout the pheasant’s range.

The final amount, which could be as high as $800 million will be allocated from a new Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CERP III). 80% of the money from this program is granted by the federal government.

CERP III’s ultimate goal is to set aside at least 100,000 acres of permanent easements throughout the range of the popular hunting bird. But even this fund isn’t guaranteed and if the money cannot be secured or the government does not contribute the required amount, other funds from local organizations or state areas will have to be used.

Yet action in the state is needed. Habitat reduction is the single most devastating threat to pheasant populations and since the decline of the Conservation Reserve Program, habitat has started to disappear. This has resulted in huge population declines.

Do you think this scheme is needed in South Dakota? Will this program work or is something else needed?

Let us know in the comments below.


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