Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: South Dakota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

South Dakota Project

Effectiveness of Roundup© Ready Alfalfa for Nesting Habitat and Seedbed Preparation

July 2014 - December 2016


Participating Agencies

  • South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks

Ring-necked pheasant and waterfowl populations provide bountiful recreational opportunities for residents and visitors of South Dakota, providing a strong economic boost for local economies. This provides strong incentives for the maintenance and sustainability of their populations. With a rapidly changing landscape to agricultural production, primarily due to the loss of CRP, management of remaining grasslands is imperative to the success of upland nesting game birds. Traditional management practices to provide nesting/brood rearing cover involve the use of agricultural crops to prepare tracts of land for grassland restoration, providing negligible benefits for wildlife during this time. New techniques to reduce the use of agriculture in restorations are being explored, including using Roundup© ready (RR) alfalfa as a means to prepare seedbeds for grassland restoration. RR alfalfa could provide nesting cover as well as an economically feasible way of controlling invasive and noxious weeds during restoration. The effectiveness of using RR alfalfa in grassland restorations and how upland nesting game birds utilize these tracts is unexplored, however, creating a knowledge gap in our understanding of the best management practices for grasslands. This study aims to close the gap in knowledge and help us manage grasslands for the benefit and sustainability of upland nesting game bird populations.

Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
MARTORELLI, N.P. 2017. Evaluation of Gamebird Use and Thermal Characteristics of Alfalfa and Perennial Grasses in Eastern South Dakota. M.S. Thesis. South Dakota State University. 161 pp. August 2017