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South Dakota Tower Working Group

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission formed the Tower Working Group in 2007 to develop model ordinances for zoning wind energy and wireless telecommunications facilities for local governments to use as helpful tools. The group includes representatives of both industries as well as stakeholders from local, state and national organizations and agencies.

This model wireless telecommunications siting ordinance is a version of the Personal Communications Industry Association's Model Siting Ordinance modified to include points suggested by the Tower Working Group. This model wind energy systems siting ordinance is a compilation of ordinances already in place throughout South Dakota and the country also modified to address specific concerns of the group.

The PUC encourages local governments to adapt the model ordinances to meet the specific needs of their community or county.

If you have questions about the model ordinances, please contact the PUC at
(605) 773-3201 or by e-mail at

See information from the South Dakota Municipal League/South Dakota Municipal Electric Association about guidelines for municipal permitting of small wind systems and ordinances for several South Dakota communities.

Additional environmental and cultural resources
Protecting environmental and cultural resources is a major concern in siting both wind and wireless towers. Although the model ordinances provide adequate opportunities for protection of these resources, the following documents provide additional information that the Tower Working Group believes will help local government leaders become better informed about these issues.

Siting Guidelines for Wind Power Projects in South Dakota
South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks  

South Dakota Bat Management Plan
South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Interim Guidelines to Avoid and Minimize Wildlife Impacts from Wind Turbines
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Interim Guidelines for Recommendations on Communications Tower Siting, Construction, Operation and Decommissioning
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Historical Preservation Review and Compliance

South Dakota Ecological Services Field Office

South Dakota Bat Working Group

South Dakota National Wildlife Refuges

Avian Power Line Interaction Committee

The PUC recommends developers consult the environmental, cultural and aeronautical offices in the state as early as possible. These resources can also be helpful to government officials while siting wind and wireless towers.

Terrestrial Wildlife Biologist
S.D. Department of Game, Fish & Parks
(605) 773-2742

Review & Compliance Coordinator
S.D. State Historical Society
(605) 773-6004

South Dakota Ecological Services Field Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(605) 224-8693

Office of Aeronautics
S.D. Department of Transportation
(605) 773-3764