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Fergus Falls
Wetland Management District


Hen duck on nest with downy feathers around her.
18965 County Road 82
Fergus Falls, MN   56537
E-mail: fergusfallswetland@fws.gov
Phone Number: 218-739-2291
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/fergus_falls_wmd/
The Fergus Falls Wetland Management District boasts some of the highest densities of breeding waterfowl in Minnesota.
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  Overview
Fergus Falls Wetland Management District

The Fergus Falls Wetland Management District was established in 1962 with the initiation of the Accelerated Small Wetlands Acquisition Program. It is located in west central Minnesota and includes the counties of Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Wadena and Wilkin.

The mission of the district is to identify, protect, and restore the tallgrass prairie/wetland ecosystem and associated habitats and to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education. For this purpose, the district currently manages 216 waterfowl production areas (WPAs) totaling 44,499 acres, and 1,148 perpetual easements protecting 24,015 acres of wetlands on private land. Thirty-nine perpetual wildlife habitat easements covering 4,185 acres of wetland and grassland habitats on private land have also been obtained.

In addition the District manages the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center which has innovative environmental education programs and a wide array of visitor opportunities all focused on understanding prairie wetlands and grasslands.


Getting There . . .
Headquarters - Take I-94 to Otter Tail County Road 82 (Exit 61) and travel north two and a half miles to the headquarters. Prairie Wetlands Learning Center - Take I-94 to State Highway 210 East (Exit 57) and travel north - east one mile.


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Wildlife and Habitat

The variety of habitats within the district promotes a diversity and abundance of wildlife species that changes with the seasons.

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History
Historically, this portion of western Minnesota was a broad, sweeping grassland known as the Northern Tallgrass Prairie.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Fishing
Hunting
Interpretation
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Habitat management activities on waterfowl production areas focus on the restoration and maintenance of grasslands and associated wetlands for the benefit of waterfowl and other migratory birds. Tools available to the wetland manager include prescribed fire, water level manipulation, waterfowl nesting structures, mowing, tree and brush removal, haying and grazing, where appropriate.

The district is heavily involved in private lands activities and has formed effective partnerships to restore and/or enhance drained wetlands and some grasslands within the five-county working area. With landowner approval, bulldozers and backhoes are used to plug drainage ditches, break drain tiles, and install water control structures to maintain desired water levels of the wetlands. In time, wetlands, once drained and forgotten, can be revived to carry on their vital role as part of the prairie landscape.