- Associated Press - Saturday, June 23, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is studying ways to cut costs while still monitoring some of the smaller bodies of water on the prairie and in the Black Hills.

New Underwood Lake was the most recent to be monitored using vehicle counters and trail cameras instead of a live person giving out surveys and observing how often the lake is used, the Rapid City Journal reported.

Four vehicle counters were placed around the lake as part of the agency’s study, taking a count when the sensors detect a change in the electro-magnetic configuration.

“The purpose of it is it would be fiscally irresponsible for us to try to send a person out there to an area where we don’t think we’ll get a lot of angling going on,” said Greg Simpson, a fisheries biologist with the agency. “Our purpose was to ask if there’s a different way to have a surrogate, still get information without costing us a lot of money.”

The study found the lake had nearly 2,320 visitors over a 61-day period, which adds up to 38 per day.



Simpson said he didn’t know how much activity the lake would get, but said he wanted to make sure the agency was able to still get usable data without having someone at the lake.

“We had no clue, it was just kind of a shot in the dark and something we never would have known anything about,” he said. “It was all a way to come about knowing how much use we are going to get at a lake.”

The agency has saved about $40,000 by using the car counters on the bodies of water, Simpson said.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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