Wildlife and Habitat
The District lies in the heart of the "Prairie Pothole Region." The Prairie Potholes are also known as the "duck factory" of North America. This relatively small area contains a high density of wetlands, commonly called "potholes," which attract nearly half of the continent's breeding waterfowl. The "Drift Prairie" of North Dakota, where the Arrowwood WMD is situated, is sandwiched between the Missouri Coteau to the west and the Red River Valley to the east. The District is characterized as mostly drift prairie. There is some native prairie left (1,354 acreas) within the 28 WPA's (6,162 acres total). However, most of the remaining grasslands are either tame grasses or seeded natives.
Numerous wildlife species inhabit the WPAs include a great diversity of waterfowl, upland game birds, nesting and migratory songbirds, birds of prey, deer and numerous fur-bearers including mink and muskrat.
A variety of techniques are used to manage upland and wetland habitats on Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs). These techniques vary depending on the specific goals and objectives desired for a particular habitat type. The three basic grassland habitat types are native grasslands, planted native grasslands, and planted dense nesting cover (DNC).
Prescribed burning and grazing are preferred treatments for native grasses. When timed properly, these techniques can improve vigor and modify species composition of warm and cool season native grasses. Haying and raking can also improve the vigor of native grasses and DNC. Haying and grazing activities are accomplished by issuing special use permits to private landowners.
Old stands of DNC are occasionally broken out and farmed for successive years and then seeded back to DNC or natives. Cooperative farming agreements are developed using private landowners as cooperators. WPA lands are mostly farmed on a share crop basis. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's portion of the crop is either left standing as a food plot or harvested and used in resident wildlife feeders. Noxious weed management techniques include chemical application, mowing, sheep grazing, and biological controls such as flea beetles on leafy spurge.
Direct wetland management capabilities on WPAs are limited due to the inability to control or manipulate water levels.
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