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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The 1985 Food Security Act interjected an environmental emphasis into farm policy. Since then, legislation and increased public awareness of wetland benefits have made wetlands a priority. Pothole wetlands occur on both public and private lands. In the northcentral United States, the private lands are very often in agricultural use. Landowners with wetland tracts now need to review all possible options for reaching individual land-use decisions. This study illustrated landowner options for wetland easements in eastern South Dakota contains environmentally vital seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands. And overview of current and funded programs was provided. The final illustration of this study supplied an economic feasibility test of WRP easement enrollment on a specific tract of land located in Lake County, SD and examined two fields with wetland tracts. Land use decisions for each field were modeled for three farming systems; transitional no-till conventional, and organic. Within each farming system four land use scenarios were examined: A full-field cropping model scenario, two buffered wetland models, and one of the buffered models with an easement enrollment. The finding of this study indicated positive returns with an easement enrollment for the given case. These returns were above all three other model scenarios within all three management systems. This illustrates that there are economic incentives to accompany the environmental emphasis. Results were specific to the Lake County location indicating the necessity for further research in this area.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wetland conservation -- South Dakota

Wetlands -- Government policy



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University