Near Houghton in Brown County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge
A Wetland of International Importance (Marker 1)
Wetlands are one of the most important ecosystems on the planet. They improve our quality of life by providing us with clean water, food, flood control, and many forms of recreation. Wetlands also abound with wildlife. Numerous bird groups, including shorebirds, waterfowl, wading birds, and colonial nesting birds, depend on healthy wetlands for survival. Wetlands on Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge provide feeding and nesting habitat for thousands of migratory birds. The wetlands you see on Sand Lake are so important to wildlife that in 1998, the Refuge was designated a "Wetland of International Importance" by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
What is a "Wetland of International Importance?"
In 1971, an international treaty called the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was signed in Ramsar, Iran. The treaty promotes the conservation of global wetlands and recognizes specific sites at "Wetlands of International Importance." Signed by over 137 countries, the treaty identifies sites all over the globe that contribute significantly to the conservation and protection of wetlands and their values. As of 2003, there were over 1,300 designated sites throughout the world, 19 of which are in the United States, including Sand Lake National Wildlife
Wetlands and Colonial Nesting Birds (Marker 2)
Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge was designated a "Wetland of International Importance" because of its tremendous value to wildlife, especially colonial nesting birds. On Sand Lake Refuge, large colonies of gulls, terns, grebes, herons, egrets, and other birds nest in emergent vegetation over the water.
These wetlands once hosted the largest nesting colony of Franklin's gulls in the world, with over 150,000 nesting pairs. Although the number of nesting pairs fluctuates annually due to changes in water levels and vegetation structure, this wetland continues to provide critical bird nesting habitat.
Location. 45° 45.766′ N, 98° 15.354′ W. Marker is near Houghton, South Dakota, in Brown County. Marker is on County Route 7 1.3 miles from 400th Ave.., on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Houghton SD 57449, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Civilian Conservation Corps Camp (a few steps from this marker); Ralph Herseth (approx. 2.2 miles away); a different Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge (approx. 3½ miles away); Waterfowl (approx. 3½ miles away); Songbirds (approx. 3½ miles away); Sand Lake's Observation Tower (approx. 3.6 miles away); The View from the Top (approx. 3.6 miles away); Columbia Marsh (approx. 7.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houghton.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Categories. • Environment •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 26, 2017. This page originally submitted on January 21, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 159 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 21, 2017, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.