Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Kenneth F. Higgins

Second Advisor

Jonathan A. Jenks

Third Advisor

Charles G. Scalet


demographics, wetlands, south dakota, geology


Wetlands, whether natural or man-made in origin, are an important feature of the semiarid landscape of western South Dakota. These wetlands have numerous social and economic values and functions for both landowners and non-owners, as well as for fish and wildlife species. For this reason, accurate information about wetland abundance, characteristics and distribution is important. These demographic summaries of wetland resources of western South Dakota were based on digital wetland data, as delineated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) office. Surface water covers approximately 257,006 ha or about 2.4% of the 10,810,700 ha of western South Dakota. Palustrine systems constitute 50.2%, lacustrine systems constitute 41.8%, and riverine systems constitute 8.1% of the surface water area in western South Dakota. There are 30% fewer hectares of NWIdelineated wetlands in western South Dakota than in eastern South Dakota. A total of 172,867 basins exist in western South Dakota. Of these basins, 61,757 (35.7%) are classified as temporary, 50,447 (29.2%) as seasonal, 59,340 (34.3%) as semipermanent, and 1,323 (0.8%) as permanent basins. There are 86,927 created basins, which is 50.3% of the total number of basins. Of these basins, 72,562 are impounded basins, 14,054 are dugouts, and 311 were created by beaver (Castor canadensis) activity. There are five-fold fewer basins in western South Dakota than in eastern South Dakota. The wetlands and basins GIS created for this project and the resulting demographic summaries provide a temporal and spatial data baseline to which past and future changes in wetland demographics can be compared. Demographic summaries also will benefit resource managers in their efforts to conserve native species of flora and fauna, and to understand the role that wetlands have in western South Dakota landscapes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wetlands -- South Dakota
Basins (Geology) -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 81-82)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2004 Bryan A. Rieger. All rights reserved.