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

South Dakota Project

Quantifying the response of in-stream habitat restoration in Gary Creek, South Dakota

July 2023 - December 2027


Participating Agencies

  • South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks

Gary Creek is a low discharge, groundwater dependent stream that originates along the eastern edge of the Coteau des Prairies in Deuel County, South Dakota. It is a unique stream for eastern South Dakota because it is characterized by cool water habitat with summer water temperatures that rarely exceed 18°C. However, increased siltation and loss of pool habitats have changed in-stream habitat availability for fishes. Prioritizing unique, aquatic habitats and fish communities for conservation management is an important step toward managing biodiversity through the systematic approach outlined by the South Dakota Wildlife Action Plan (SDWAP). Habitat issues like those affecting Gary Creek can be remedied through prescribed habitat restoration techniques, many of which have been successfully implemented in the Black Hills and southeastern Minnesota. This project relates directly to the goals of SDWAP by providing a strategic framework for partner agencies in leveraging collective resources to restore and evaluate in-stream habitat in Gary Creek.