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June 23, 2017 05:06 PM

Keeping The Big Sioux Safe

People who take care of the Big Sioux River are getting special recognition today. The group making sure the water is safe and clean throughout KELOLAND is getting a conservation award. We stopped by to see why this body of water is so important. 

You may drive past it every day and not give it a second thought, but the Big Sioux River plays a big role in several KELOLAND communities.

"It's providing a drinking water supply for this city and several others along the river. In addition to that it provides recreation and wildlife habitat and so many other things," said Jeff Zimprich, State Conservationist for USDA. 

"We're a big user. It's a big recreation area. We have all of our parks along the river here, for the most part in Sioux Falls. So we're definitely invested in our water quality," said Jesse Neyens, Sioux Falls Environmental Analyst. 

Part of that investment is being a member of the Big Sioux River Watershed Partnership. The USDA is recognizing the group of cities and counties along the river for their efforts to keep the waterways clean.

One of their recent accomplishments is cleaning up a body of water that feeds into the Big Sioux.

"Skunk Creek was de-listed, taken off the list for sediments and we're very close to having that same happen with the bacteria counts," said Jack Majeres, Chairman of Moody County Conservation District. 

"They've been working for many years pulling this together, so when we recognize them today we need to know that there's been a lot of work in the background but they've accomplished a lot," said Zimprich. 

Even though the group is being praised for its efforts, they want to remind everyone it takes individual citizens to make the biggest impact.

"We are all part of the problem and we're all part of the solution. Whether you live in town or live out in the country," said Majeres.

Majeres says the two biggest problems the Big Sioux River faces right now are too much sediment and bacteria in the water. 


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