Elk NetworkBlack Hills National Forest Hardy Pipeline – Restoring Elk Country

Restoring Elk Country | November 6, 2023

Black Hills National Forest Hardy Pipeline – South Dakota & Wyoming

Water is the lifeblood of healthy wildlife populations.

In some arid locations, such as where western South Dakota meets northeast Wyoming, finding life-sustaining water for elk, mule deer, wild turkey and other wildlife can be a major challenge.

So the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its volunteers joined forces with the U.S. Forest Service, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, and other partners to carry out the Hardy Cooperative Water Pipeline Project on the Black Hills National Forest.

Beginning in 2019, crews focused on the South Dakota side of the forest by installing a solar system and spring box to collect water. They laid the first three miles of pipeline and bored it under Highway 85 near the South Dakota-Wyoming border, while also erecting four stock tanks and two storage tanks.

Work continued through 2022 with the installation of six more miles of pipeline into Wyoming, six additional stock tanks, one storage tank, three wildlife water guzzlers, and another new water source.

The now-completed $250,000 project supplies a dependable year-round water source in multiple locations across two grazing allotments in two states.

That means better forage for elk, mule deer, and other wildlife, improved wildlife distribution and livestock management, and encouragement for wildlife to remain on public land, thus improving hunting opportunities.

Since 1984 – RMEF has completed more than 13,000 projects that have conserved or enhanced more than 8.7 million acres of habitat.

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