Buffer Strips Along the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek Improve Water Quality

The City of Sioux Falls has implemented buffer strip areas along the Big Sioux River and Skunk Creek over the years in an effort to improve water quality. We also are enhancing our efforts to educate our residents and visitors who utilize the bike trail about how important an effort this is by adding new educational signage.

“Sioux Falls needs to be the leader when it comes to protecting and improving our rivers and streams all across our great state. Buffer strips make a big difference not only for farm fields and feedlots but also in cities like ours,” says Mayor Mike Huether.

The City of Sioux Falls is dedicated to improving the water quality of the Big Sioux River. Urban stormwater runoff is one source of pollution in our watershed. Most of the City’s bike trail runs adjacent to the Big Sioux River, which makes it an excellent site for no-mow areas. Low-use areas adjacent to the Big Sioux River are being converted from turf grass to native plantings or no-mow areas in an effort to improve water quality. These no-mow areas help to filter stormwater runoff before it reaches the waterways. Three new educational signs informing the public of the benefits of no-mow areas have been installed just west of Spencer Park, just east of Spencer Park, and in Pasley Park.

Buffer Strip Fun Facts

  • The Sioux Falls park system includes more than 3,000 acres of park land.
  • About 150 acres are established as native plantings or no-mow areas.
  • No-mow zones have many benefits, including improving water quality, filtering stormwater runoff, minimizing fertilizer and herbicide applications, reducing labor and equipment costs, increasing habitat for animals and insects, and reducing pollution because of reduced use of gas-powered mowers.
  • Healthy grass needs only one inch of precipitation a week. Overwatering causes grass to have shallow root systems and also wastes an important natural resource.