USDA is making $250,000 available to help landowners affected by the Stampede Fire that burned 23,000 acres on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Oglala, S.D., in early July.
Recipients will receive a payment for deferring grazing until November 2008 to facilitate the rangeland recovery process. The payment also can be used to replace fences and pipelines.
"Without deferment, tender new growth of grasses is highly sought after by grazing animals which can potentially lead to overgrazing in the burned area and that would reduce the ecological health of the area. Grazing deferment allows vegetative growth to cover the soil preventing soil erosion during this critical growing period," Janet Oertly, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist.