Proposed Federal Land Grab Threatens Private Property Rights



Our Federal Government is threatening to take 90,000 acres of privately held property in South Dakota and Nebraska under the Land Protection Plan (LPP) for the Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs Conservation Area.  You only have until September 30, 2013 to voice your opinion about this threat to private property rights.

I encourage you to read about the Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs Conservation Area,, which impacts private property owners in southeast South Dakota and northeast Nebraska.  Viable agricultural land is threatened in this area.  Taxable private property is threatened in this area.

Ag producers, taxpayers, and private property in this area should pay attention.  Individuals threatened by this taking have until September 30, 2013 to comment on the Federal Government’s plans.  Voice your opinion at this link:

Our Federal Government has failed to manage the public land it has under its control.  I do not believe that we should give them more authority over our private property until they can manage the land and waterways we already expect them to manage.

Please take a few minutes right now to read about this threat to your private property rights and share your thoughts and opinions with your government.

38 Responses to “Proposed Federal Land Grab Threatens Private Property Rights”

  1. 1 biggreenmess September 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    What can we do? I mean, within legal limits. Can the counties involved not just raise hell? Does the fed buy off property owners?

    • 2 danlederman September 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm

      We can do a few things.

      First, we can click on the public comment link and express concern for the loss of productive land before the September 30th deadline.

      Second, we can contact our county commissioners to pass a resolution opposing the project.

      Third, we can ask our federal delegation, US Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune and Congresswoman Kristi Noem to ask the Department of the Interior to extend the public comment deadline.

      County Commissioners should be on the forefront to oppose this project but as usual the USFW and Parks Service have kept them out of the loop. We need to inform our commissioners. It’s not too late for them to speak up.

  2. 3 Jim September 16, 2013 at 3:20 am

    These conservation areas would build on existing conservation efforts along the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota. In creating these areas, we would work with willing private landowners, local communities, and other conservation entities to conserve important wildlife habitats, increase quality recreational opportunities, preserve sensitive cultural sites, and maintain sustainable farming and ranching operations in the region.What part of Willing don’t you understand Dan ?
    I’m sure there would be no problem with a GOP President doing this?

    • 4 Paula Richter September 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      We had this happen with a GOP president and it did not fly then either. This is a land grab, pure and simple. Look at how they “kept the leafy spurge under control on federal lands around Medora!” I will bet you your weight in gold that they do not control the out of control saltcedar down there????? The ranchers are already having h*** because the federal land weeds are NOT controlled.

    • 5 Teresa Geib Bacon October 16, 2013 at 2:01 am

      Look up Agenda 2025 Map or study Agenda 21 URGENT you do so if you do not know already.

    • 6 Sheila Ross October 19, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Hi Jim.
      Land is managed best when it is in private hands. As we allow lands to be taken for whatever reason the federal government deems fit- whether conservation or otherwise- we, over time, allow our property rights to be weakened- undermined. This is not setting good precedent. We need to keep as much land privately owned as possible because private property rights have been a foundational principle undergirding our republic as well as our economy.
      This has nothing to do with who is president, although, if a GOP president thought that this were a good idea, I would question his party credentials.

    • 7 Julie Johnson April 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      I’m sure when it comes down to it the word “WILLING” would not be a part of the conversation! I DO NOT TRUST the Federal Government!

  3. 8 danlederman September 16, 2013 at 3:33 am

    If all that was true, I would be a willing seller.

    Sadly, it isn’t true and the landowners who sell aren’t told of the risk of condemnation. The land owners who sell aren’t advised of the long term negative impact on their communities. Please show me one area in SD where the taking of private land has helped farmers or ranchers.

  4. 9 Casson Dennison September 16, 2013 at 3:41 am

    Jim, whenever the Federal Government is threatening to take 90,000 acres of some of the most fertile farmland in the United States, people will have a fuss. GOP or not there is going to be an uproar.

  5. 10 Marcene Heeren September 16, 2013 at 4:25 am

    “If all that was true, I would be a willing seller.” Do you own land in this area where it affects you personally, Sen. Lederman?
    Is this land in the flood plain?
    What is the risk to landowners, and how do you know that?
    Why will it have a negative impact on the nearby communities?
    I need more information and answers to these questions before I can determine whether this is an issue that warrants our attention.

    • 11 danlederman September 16, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Some of the land could be in the flood plain.
      The risk to landowners is that is devalues the land and takes it off the market as productive land.
      Nearby communities rely on property taxes to survive. Taking this land off of the tax rolls will impact local budgets.

    • 12 Teresa Geib Bacon October 16, 2013 at 2:04 am

      with all due respect, you would do well spending time w Agriculture people, they were your ancestors. Then you wont ask those questions.

      • 13 Marcene Heeren October 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        With all due respect, Ms. Bacon, I spend much time with agriculture people since I live on a farm, my husband is an active farmer, and we own three farms. And, yes, my ancestors, including my father and grandfathers, were farmers.
        I also spent several years reporting about agriculture for a daily newspaper.
        I have learned to never assume anything nor to believe everything I read or am told.
        Questions are good things, but it tends to make some people nervous.

  6. 14 David Schwalb September 16, 2013 at 6:07 am

    For every acre of fertile farmland the federal government takes out of circulation our country exposes itself to additional dependence on foreign agricultural imports. The Obama Administration achieved this with vast swathes of the Central Valley in California by severely limiting irrigation rights out there. Sean Hannity has covered this extensively on his television show. Maybe this is a story he could pick up as well.

  7. 15 Grace L. Coleman September 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Thank you for posting this. It’s a challenge to bring an item as important as this one to the attention of the people who are paying for it!! There have been many meetings held in Boyd & Holt Counties, but a blog like this is many times more effective.

  8. 16 Ken September 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I am becoming convinced that, in pursuing and advancing policies and agendas, instead of pursuing that which benefits real people who work for a living, the federal government, at least in the current administration, has declared war on the American people. We are told it is all for public policy purposes that the individual pays more, receives less, subsidizes the takers, and progressively loses more and more of his or her rights of self-determination. If we, who are the public, are losing, how can a government program or agenda be for the public benefit. This is what happens when the government becomes the new feudalism instead of public servants. The highest calling is to become the least or, as the bible states it, “The first shall be last” and “unless you become like a child, you cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” It’s really sad when your leaders turn on you, rather than being your protectors.

  9. 17 George LaVerne September 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Similar processes will be use on far more land if the Keystone XL pipeline is approved as well. At least this matter is internal and conservation-minded. The Keystone issue is a land grab for the benefit of a foreign corporation, and instead of conservation it will be used for land destruction.

    • 18 Georgett September 17, 2013 at 2:32 am

      Remember…the Grand Canyon is a protected National Park. The corporations that own our government….want to go into the canyon and rape that land that was set aside for preservation of keeping the pristine beauty of that land. I ask what resources are they after now in this land grab.

  10. 19 Jeff Harding September 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    The Letter states, ” I do not believe that we should give them more authority over our private property until they can manage the land and waterways we already expect them to manage.”
    Even if the Fed Govt COULD manage what they already have, what makes you think we should give them ANY authority over privately owned land? The funny thing about privately owned land is…IT’S PRIVATE! Cmon man. As a constitutional conservative, I’ve got a serious problem with this statement.

  11. 20 Barbara Otto September 16, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    My family and neighbors have been fighting this since April. We have had great support from our congressional and state senators! It will be helpful to have South Dakota join us—strength in numbers. Also support from our NRD, zoning departments, newspapers and radio station has helped inform our area of Holt and Boyd Counties. We the people say NO to this DOI nightmare! Barbara Otto

  12. 21 Rayce Monahan September 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    This in no way, shape, or form will have any benefit to a single person. This is just more of the government wanting to control more of our life. Just stay inside the beltway and let us common sense, hard-working “folk” live our lives.

  13. 22 Vernice Doyle September 16, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    When will the government stop. Will the next thing be to take over the land that the windmills are on. Wake up and get informed.

  14. 24 Mike September 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    This didn’t post last time, but isn’t it try that the goal of the agency is to only work with land owners willing to take part in the easement? What is your position on Keystone?

  15. 25 Marcene Heeren September 16, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    How does this compare with the wetlands conservation program that took flood-prone land out of production along the Big Sioux River? Landowners along the Big Sioux were given a choice of what to do with their land because the feds were tired of disaster payments and almost annual costs to repair dikes. Some landowners chose to let their land return to being wetlands and some opted to keep their land in production.
    Yes, a reduction in property tax revenue would impact county budgets. So, in cases where the land is flood-prone, should the land be reclassified and the taxes decreased now or should we wait until the land floods and then give tax breaks like some places in southern Union County received after the Missouri River flood? And isn’t there a possibility that revenue from increased recreational activities might replace some or all of what would be lost?
    I sympathize with landowners who do not want their land affected by this, but will it be forced on them or will it be a matter of choice? And if efforts are made to educate landowners about how it would affect their land, they should be able to make informed choices.
    State and local officials didn’t have a problem with taking what is probably the best agricultural land in the state of South Dakota and putting an oil refinery there. Many effected and adjacent land owners were opposed to that too. So what’s the difference?

  16. 26 Nick Weis September 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Here’s a fun comment I read on facebook. “I read the planning update for this project published on-line using the links provided in Dan Lederman’s article. To characterize this proposal as a “land grab” or threatening to the private property rights of anyone in the proposed conservation areas is a gross mischaracterization. The project clearly states that land is to be purchased only from willing landowners and only where necessary for access or where extensive rehabilitation is needed. One of the project’s stated goals is to keep privately owned land in private ownership and on the local tax rolls. Another goal is to collaborate with willing landowners to preserve or enhance habitat within the conservation areas. One method to achieve that goal is to purchase conservation easements from willing landowners whereby the landowners are compensated for the habitat preservation and enhancement that takes place on their land while leaving ownership in their hands. These are not radical proposals, and they are not brand new ideas. They have been applied rather successfully in other parts of the country”

  17. 27 Nick Weis September 17, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Did none of you read this part on the very page that Lederman urged you to read? “conserve important wildlife habitats, increase quality recreational opportunities, preserve sensitive cultural sites, and maintain sustainable farming and ranching operations in the region”
    All of these things are extraordinarily important, instead of resisting change just for the sake of you not having to deal with it, think about the actual benefits. Or if you think that every single piece of land should be exploited to make as much profit as possible immediately, stop being greedy and think about the long term.
    Wildlife habitats are increasingly encroached upon, leading to less biological diversity which negatively impacts the ecosystem. This can directly affect any use that an owner might have for it, whether it’s farming, ranching, public use, or anything else you might have in mind. Any private owner with his priorities in the right place will willingly give it over in order to conserve the land for future generations.
    Recreational opportunities and sensitive cultural sites are opportunities to make a profit out of the areas by encouraging tourism. What could be better than to make money off of the land while keeping it exactly how it is, saving it for possible agricultural use in the future?
    Maintaining sustainable farming and ranching operations is apparently something a lot of you missed. Everyone benefits from sustainable farming and ranching practices, humans, animals, the environment, everyone. Believe it or not, there is actually more profit in these operations than the large farming industries that currently wreak havoc on the land. So why would you choose to continue destroying the earth we live on when you are making less money by doing it? Even a conservative should understand that logic.

  18. 28 Kelvin September 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    My issue with the bill is that it does allow for people recreational access to the land. While it is important to maintain our waterways, allowing recreational access puts the environments at risk because tourists may litter the areas that they access. Even worse, the landowners are still responsible for taking care of the land, so much of the litter will likely remain in the habitats, putting the organisms in the environment at risk. Putting the land under private ownership is, in my opinion, more dependable than allowing tourists and recreation on the land. Additionally, this bill allows for the federal government to take up land in the entire basin, not just the waterway. This presents a risk for landowners who do not own property by the waterfront. Even if the “willing” landowners who allow for the federal government to take up their land change their minds, the perpetual leases that are being put forth by this bill will prevent them from getting their land back.

    My concern is for the wildlife put at risk by tourism and recreation in the land, which has been preserved and maintained by private landowners for decades. I wish only to save the taxpayers money that could be spent on more worthwhile pursuits and to preserve the natural environment not by government programs, but by the goodwill and common sense of our people. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  19. 29 Grace L. Coleman September 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    I’m think some background might help. The America’s Great Outdoors Act of 2010 instigated much of this. “To protect our nation’s natural resources for current and future generations”. It has plans stretching t0 2067.
    The 2014 Budget of Secretary of Interior includes: 170,000 acres Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area (Southern Rockies), Swan Valley Conservation Area, 187,000 acres of Swan River Watershed, National Blueways System and National Watertrails System, 410 miles of Connecticut River and 7.2 MILLION acres of White River watershed in Arkansas & Missouri. (This one was pulled back by the Department of Interior after massive grass roots push back) Then we have the Niobrara/Ponca Bluffs project. There are currently 19 projects either in or adjacent to Nebraska right now listed on the Federal Documents Register. These are A.G.O. projects. (Part of the U.N. “Sustainable Development”, from 1992). Done without Congressional approval, through Government agencies, using other organizations for $$ with unknown future regulations to be obeyed.

    America’s Great Outdoors established 9 major rivers as “National Water Trails” in 2012!! $5.3 Billion in 2014 Budget for Land acquisition, of which U.S.F.W.S. has 1.6 Billion to play with: 3.3 million “to coordinate a landscape level conservation approach”, 106.3 million for Federal Land acquisition, and 17.6 million for Cooperative Landscape Conservation. N.P.S. has $2.5 Billion to spend for A.G.O. projects, 6.0 million for Cooperative Landscape Conservation, 100.4 Million for land acquisition, 52 million for Word Heritage Projects.

    If an individual used the methods of FWS & NPS to acquire private land or conservation leases with money they did not have, for unstated future purpose, in cooperation with NGO’s, they would be arrested as a scam artist.

  20. 30 Grace L. Coleman September 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    My goal, after working “stop these land grab Resolutions” through the cities, counties and STATES, is to have our U.S. Congress pass a law forbidding any perpetual leases and defund the NGO’s (which receive funds through the Farm Bill)

  21. 31 AJ September 19, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Dan thank you for this post. As someone who grew up in Yankton and owns land in this area and has lived their and plans to retire there. This is a major threat. The government cannot be trusted. A neighbor of mine decided to participate in this and it was great .. he received a large check and still owns the land.. till the federal government moved the bulldozers there and tore out all the trees and created a 40′ hole in the ground to try and create a wetland.. it is still dry! The government has tried to create islands only to see them wash down the river. they have tried back channels and they washed out. Now they want to remove bank stabilization and that will result in more wash outs and flooding down stream with debris. The Government thinks they know better than the people who have lived here for generations, they are just dictating from desks far away.

    When they built the Gavins point Dam in the 1950’s my grandfather owned land upstream. He bought it for $50 dollars an acre in the 1920’s and 30’s he saved everything to buy that land. When they built the dam they took it for a fraction. If people want to preserve this land and the river … keep the government out, limit boat traffic (the wakes damage the shore line) and let the Corp of engineers run it they are reasonable and knowledgeable. The National park service is only set to destroy property rights and land stewardship.

  22. 32 patrioticsam September 19, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Why doesn’t the state just nullify this usurpation by the Federal government. It is unconstitutional as it is not one of the enumerated powers granted to the Feds. A good short article to read is here.

  23. 33 Jerry Schroeder September 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I would like to go on record as opposed to the LLP for the Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs Conservation area.

    Jerry Schroeder, Dixon County Supervisor

  24. 35 Grace L. Coleman September 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    According to the Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data prepared for Members and Committees of Congress, February 8, 2012, NPS administers 79,706,353 acres of land and has about $10.83 BILLION deferred backlog maintenance as of 2010. Perhaps it would not make sense to add to their responsibilities until that back log is cleared up. In the same report, it states the FWS administers 300,197,306 acres. Aren’t we broke?

    Per the U.S. General Services Administration, Federal Real Property Profile, as of 09-30-2004, the Federal Government owns 27.7% of the total U.S., 62% of Alaska, 47% of the West and 4% in other states. A few years have passed since this calculation, but I believe it is time to stop already.

  25. 36 Grace L. Coleman November 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Dan, have heard nothing new since September. How are you doing in S.D.? Still working on this in Nebraska.

  1. 1 SD State Senator protesting federal land grab across 6 counties in South Dakota | South Dakota War College Trackback on September 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

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