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Fort Randall Spillway
Description: The management unit, which is approximately 823 acres in size, is characterized by high banks on the west, along with heavily wooded rolling hills and drainages to the east. Most of the management unit (over 80%) is upland habitat. Eastern red cedar trees and a mixture of native and non-native grasses, forbs and shrubs dominate the upland habitat. Shrubs such as silver buffaloberry, chokecherry, and snowberry commonly occur in the transition zone between the grasslands and the wooded draws and canyons. Within the draws, common trees include green ash, eastern redcedar, bur oak, and American elm. The primary native perennial grass species in this unit are big bluestem, little bluestem, western wheatgrass, green needlegrass, sideoats grama, and blue grama. Native species of rushes and sedges can be found in the lowland areas that accumulate moisture. Forbs in this unit include native species of milkweeds, goldenrods, ragweeds, horseweed, yucca, prairie dogbane, prairie coneflower, and woolly verbena. The dominant native shrubs in the unit include smooth sumac, skunkbrush, wild grape, American plum, snowberry, and chokecherry. Native trees in the unit include plains cottonwood, green ash, eastern red cedar, American elm, honey locust, bur oak, boxelder, northern hackberry, and peachleaf willow species. The management unit receives many visitors as it is easily and quickly accessible by a paved road directly off of SD Highway 46 within the town of Pickstown. Numerous visitors are attracted to the management area in the fall to hunt for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and flocks of waterfowl migrating over the unit as they fly north of the river below the dam. Visitors to this management unit also enjoy non-consumptive resource uses such as hiking, wildlife watching, and photography.

Wildlife to Watch: Upland game birds that can be found in this area include the northern bobwhite, wild turkey, and mourning dove. Passerine species commonly observed in this management area include the ovenbird, spotted towhee, yellow warbler, gray catbird, field sparrow, black and white warbler, brown-headed cowbird, horned lark, house sparrow, whip-poor-will, American redstart, northern cardinal, American robin, house wren, red-eyed vireo, warbling vireo, chipping sparrow, black-capped chickadee, downy woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, American goldfinch, American crow, blue jay, and indigo bunting. Raptors found in this management unit include the red-tailed hawk and great horned owl. Numerous species of waterfowl including mallards, Canada geese, gadwalls, and northern shovelers can also be observed flying over the unit as they travel north of the river below the dam. The uplands and lowlands provide habitat for many small and large mammals including shrews, mice, voles, bats, rabbits, skunks, eastern fox squirrels, ground squirrels, raccoons, bobcats, and white-tailed deer. Reptiles that utilize this area include the plains garter snake, common garter snake, the bullsnake, and the racer. Amphibians that can be found in this area include the chorus frog, the Great Plains toad, the Northern leopard frog, the plains leopard frog, and the tiger salamander.

Special Tips: Visitors should careful to wear hunter orange during the fall season due to the numerous hunters that visit this area.

Ownership: Army Corp of Engineers 
Size: 823 Acres 
Closest Town: Pickstown, SC


Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Photographed by Dawn Rodriguez, US Army Corp of Engineers
Please use Map Link below

Driving Directions:
The access road to this unit begins one mile east of the intersection where US Highway 18/281 meets the Fort Randall Dam Powerhouse Road access drive. After driving one mile east from this intersection, the paved access road will begin in the town of Pickstown off of US Highway 18/281 near the location of the Fort Randall Inn.

Map Link

Fort Randall Spillway : Wildlife Viewing Area