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US official visits SD to talk about grasslands

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is visiting South Dakota to talk about a proposed project aimed at protecting habitat crucial to migratory waterfowl in South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana.

The proposed Dakota Grassland Conservation Area would be a new unit of the National Wildlife System.

The federal government would spend about $588 million in the next two or three decades to protect 2 million acres of habitat in an area that runs through the eastern half of the Dakotas, across the top of North Dakota and into northeastern Montana.

The project would consist of conservation easements on private lands purchased from willing landowners.

Salazar will discuss the project during an appearance in Sioux Falls before meeting with landowners and others near Highmore.