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Message from the Department Head

Our areas of expertise enable us to train a diverse array of majors at both the undergraduate and graduate level utilizing interdisciplinary approaches while preparing them for a multitude of career options. South Dakota's natural resources are a key factor in maintaining a high-quality workforce throughout our state. Moreover, the quality of life for many people is intimately tied to their enjoyment of natural areas.  

Conservation and management of natural resources implies a considerate use of these resources in a multifaceted way. This approach includes the development of novel management practices that ensure both the preservation of habitat for rare plants and animals as well as sustainable agriculture and grazing practices, which conserve the quality of our soil, waterways, lakes and streams. Rangelands are the foundation of livestock production operations, wildlife habitat, watershed management, and outdoor recreational opportunities within the state and region. We strive to work together in an interdisciplinary way to preserve the integrity of our natural resources.  

Natural resources provide (1) non-consumptive economic benefit through the preservation of terrestrial and aquatic habitat that supports plant and animal species biodiversity as well as (2) consumptive economic benefit through the annual harvest of surpluses from renewable natural resources such as waterfowl, pheasants, and fish. Rare organisms, such as the western fringed prairie orchid, swift foxes or pallid sturgeon, often are best managed through preservation. Our department's approach incorporates the fundamental knowledge that factors affecting threatened species and populations are the same as those that may affect non-threatened species in the future.

We offer Undergraduate Majors in:

  • Conservation Planning and Park Management
  • Ecology and Environmental Science
  • Natural Resource Law Enforcement
  • Rangeland Ecology and Management
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences

We offer Undergraduate Minors in:

  • Botany
  • Rangeland Ecology and Management

We offer Graduate Degrees in:

  • M.S. - Biological Sciences
  • M.S. - Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences
  • Ph.D. - Biological Sciences
  • Ph.D. - Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences

Please explore our web site and do not hesitate to contact any of us with questions.


Michele R. Dudash, Head