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Valley City Wetland Management District - North Dakota
   

Wildlife

Valley City Wetland Management District provides year-round habitat for many species of wildlife and is visited by an abundance of migratory birds during the spring and fall.

Many birds utilize the numerous wetlands throughout the five county district in the spring and fall. During this time, peak concentrations can reach into the thousands. The principal waterfowl nesting species are Canada geese, mallards, pintails, blue-winged teal, shovelers, and gadwall.

Photo of a Canada goose flapping his wings - Photo credit: Barb Ridgway

Aside from providing important nesting areas for several species of ducks, WPAs host a wide variety of other birdlife, including savannah and clay-colored sparrows, bobolinks, northern harriers, upland sandpipers, pied-billed grebes, and American avocets. Amphibians such as leopard frogs and tiger salamanders, and mammals such as red fox, white-tailed deer, and the occasional moose also utilize these mini-refuges.

Due to the fact that the Drift Prairie landscape is so fragmented, waterfowl production is often limited by a high rate of predation. Principle nest predators in this area include the red fox, striped skunk, racoon, and Franklins ground squirrel. To help reduce the negative effect of nest predation, the Valley City WMD utilizes electric predator barriers. In the early 1990s, the Valley City WMD maintained the worlds largest predator exclosure fence (1,200 acres). After this fence was damaged beyond repair by the extreme flood events of the late 1990s, the WMD worked with Ducks Unlimited to construct a new fence in south-central Barnes County during 2001. Even though these predator fences require considerable maintenance they are one of the most effective ways to increase waterfowl nest success.

Management techniques utilized by the Wetland District to benefit waterfowl and other wildlife species include artificial nesting structures, wetland creation and restoration, water level management, prescribed burning, farming, haying, grazing, and law enforcement. Noxious weeds (e.g., leafy spurge and Canada thistle) are controlled using both pesticides and biological control agents. These techniques enhance and create a diversity of habitats that are used by many wildlife species throughout the year.

Photo of a muskrat - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service




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