Sediment from 4 western South Dakota lakes being used to improve the region's environment


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RAPID CITY, South Dakota — The equivalent of nearly 10,000 dump-truck loads of sediment from four lakes in western South Dakota is being used to fix scars on the land and preserve a meadow in the Black Hills.

The U.S. Forest Service is dredging Horsethief, Lakota and Bismarck lakes along the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway in the southern Black Hills, and Rapid City is dredging Canyon Lake. All four are manmade, created by dams on creeks, and the silt that flows in has nowhere to go. Removing the excess sediment improves water quality and fish habitat.

"Some of these lakes — especially Horsethief and Bismarck — they've been filling up (with silt) a long time," said Dave Pickford, a recreation specialist for the Black Hills National Forest. "It's been about 75 years, and they've never been dredged."

Much of the work at the Forest Service lakes is finished, the Rapid City Journal reported ( ). The muck removed from the scenic byway lakes is being used to fill old gravel pits and an area where earthen material was taken for dam construction, and to restore a meadow that has been invaded by unwanted brome grass that does not make good forage for wildlife.

Work at Canyon Lake is ongoing. The sediment will be used to reclaim sites mined for cement production, according to Justin Busch, superintendent with contractor Scull Construction.

Information from: Rapid City Journal,

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