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Valley City Wetland Management District - North Dakota

Waterfowl Production Areas

Funds to acquire Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are provided by the 1934 Duck Stamp Act which was amended by Congress in 1958 to authorize acquisition of uplands and wetlands as WPAs.

Waterfowl Production Area Sign.

Approximately 95% of the nations WPAs are located in the prairie pothole region of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana. North Dakota alone has 39% of the nation's WPAs. The Valley City Wetland Management District (WMD) has 82 WPAs for a total of 16,898 acres. The smallest WPA is 16 acres (Mueller WPA in Cass County), and the largest is 2,343 acres (Alice WPA in Cass County).

WPAs, often referred to as the "Prairie Jewels of the Refuge System," are open to a variety of public uses including hunting, fishing and trapping. These uses are subject to all applicable state and federal laws. Small game hunters using shotguns are required to use and possess only approved non-toxic shot while on WPAs.

Other public uses include wildlife observation, interpretation, photography and environmental education. Visitation is at its highest during the fall hunting season.

WPAs are managed to attract and produce migratory waterfowl, migratory non-game birds and resident wildlife. Grazing, water control structures, planting dense nesting cover, constructing new wetland areas, improving or restoring wetlands, planting native grasses and prescribed burning are a few of the management tools used.

Photo of a fire fighter in action on a WPA - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Photo of waterfowl using a WPA - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Stacy Hoehn

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