Important Bird Areas

Edgemont Sagebrush

South Dakota

This
area contains relatively dense and good quality stands of Big Sagebrush and
other sage species which are attractive to nesting sagebrush-obligate bird
species. The sage ranges from pure sage with almost no grass to mostly grass
with a bit of sage. This attracts a variety of shrubland and grassland species.
There are several medium-sized prairie dog colonies in the north half of the
IBA

The
IBA includes the following sections in their entirety:

T8S,
1E, sections 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34, 35, 36

T9S,
1E, sections 1, 2, 11, 12, 13, 14

T9S,
2E, sections 6, 7, 18, 19

Ornithological Summary

Several
rare or local sagebrush obligate bird species nest here, including Sage
Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, and Cassin’s Sparrow. Many more common shrubland
and grassland species nest here.

Conservation Issues

Overgrazing
by livestock is the main threat – livestock trample young and old sage plants,
degrade the quality of sage plants, and trample/degrade the area in and around
stock ponds. Fire is a secondary concern – a small grass fire, started in the
highway ditch, burned a few acres in 2010. Hunting prairie dogs with lead shot
exposes raptors to lead poisoning.

Ownership

All
but 1 1/2 sections are part of Buffalo Gap National Grassland which is managed
by the U.S. Forest Service, Hot Springs district.The remaining 1.5 sections are
privately-owned.

Habitat

The
area predominantly is grassland with varying amounts of sagebrush and bare
ground. The prairie dog towns are mostly denuded of vegetation. There are a
small number of stock ponds.

Land Use

The
land primarily is used for grazing. A highway runs throught the middle of the
IBA.