With a fair amount of rain last week and a lot of sun this week, road ditches are getting pretty hairy with grass. But if you have an urge to do that mowing you have to hold off on that.

The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks is reminding residents that mowing in the ditches along the state highways isn't allowed quite yet as there are some laws and rules that have to be adhered to.

“Roadside ditches provide valuable nesting cover, especially in portions of the state with limited lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program or other upland nesting habitats,” stated Tom Kirschenmann, GFP Division of Wildlife director in a statement. “Our department is asking for the public’s consideration in delaying haying and mowing activities along roadside ditches as long as possible. These areas play a critical role in providing nesting habitat for pheasants. Even the delay of a week or two will result in more successful nest attempts.”

And while the no mowing rules and laws only apply to state highways and right of ways, the GFP asks that no mowing be done in any road ditches until after July 10.

Pheasants and other upland birds use the grassy ditches for nesting this time of year. Hens are hanging out in those ditches and nesting on their eggs. Mowing equipment can kill hens and destroy eggs in the nest.

These restrictions are in Administrative Rule 70:04:06:06 and in South Dakota Codified Law 31-5-22.

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