Madison Wetlands Management District
Mountain-Prairie Region



McCook County wetlands


McCook County WetlandsNeed an aerial photo of your favorite Waterfowl Production Area?

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White Wind Farm - Environmental Impact Statement - Documents by U.S. Department of Energy

Draft Environmental Impact Statement Figures

  • Figure 1-1 Project Area (19 megabyte PDF file)
  • Figure 2-1 Typical Wind turbine Generator
  • Figure 2-2 Representative Layout of a Nacelle
  • Figure 2-3 Representative Spread Footing Foundation Design
  • Figure 2-4 Preliminary Layout for Substation
  • Figure 3-1 Water Resources within the Project Area ( 3 megabyte PDF file)
  • Figure 3-2 Vegetation Communities within the Project Area ( 2.5 megabyte PDF file)
  • Figure 3-3 Typical Landscape in Project Area
  • Figure 3-4 Simulations of WTGs Viewed from Hwy 30 ( 8 megabyte PDF file)
  • Figure ES 1-1 Project Area ( 19 megabyte PDF file)

Prairie Wetlands Country

It must have been an awe inspiring, perhaps frightening, experience for settlers to venture out from the shelter and protection of eastern woodlands into a land dominated by grass, sky and sun. No trees, just vast open prairie lands stretching forth as far as the eye could see. The open, treeless character of these lands was well described by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book, "By the Shores of Silver Lake", when she wrote of the lone cottonwood that stood between Lakes Henry and Thompson, said to be the only tree between the Big Sioux and the James Rivers.

The grasslands of eastern South Dakota were continuous and colorful. Only in wet places, or wetlands, was the flow of prairie grasses and wildflowers broken. This marriage of prairie grasses and marshlands created ideal conditions for millions of wild ducks and other wildlife.

Prairie Oasis

Indians, as well as settlers, were attracted to large marshlands for water and wild game. An occasional remaining teepee ring near a marsh or an old farm house overlooking a large, deep wetland are reminders of the importance of wetlands to these hardy Americans.

Going, Going ...

Today, only fragments of the original prairie remain. As increasing acreages of native prairie and wetlands vanished, people became concerned about these losses. What would become of the ducks, geese, and other wildlife as marsh drainage continued? Would downstream flooding become more severe once the vast water-holding capacity of wetlands was further diminished? The answers to these questions became apparent as marsh wildlife declined and downstream flooding worsened as drainage of wetlands increased.

Madison Wetland Management District

Enter the U.S. Congress, the year: 1962. At that time, Congress appropriated funding for the protection of wetlands, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service swung into action. Shortly thereafter, the Madison Wetland Management District, a field station of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was established. Its mission: to preserve wetlands and manage habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Headquartered in Madison, South Dakota, the District manages 38,500 acres of purchased wetland areas, called Waterfowl Production Areas. The District also administers two easement programs with private landowners. A wetland easement program comprised of 52,200 acres of wetlands protected from drainage and a grassland easement program protecting 39,000 of grassland from ever being plowed. Lands are acquired, in part, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with monies from the sale of Duck Stamps.

Management Practices

Waterfowl Production Areas are actively managed to improve them for wildlife. Wetlands may be restored or created by plugging a ditch or constructing a low dam. Uplands, previously farmed, are planted to nesting cover or, in some instances, to wildlife food plots.

All remaining tracts of native prairie are protected and made more attractive to nesting birds by periodic haying, grazing, and prescribed burning. In spite of these efforts, native grasslands are threatened by the invasion of non-native brome and blue grasses.

Local farmers assist the District in carrying out these and other practices through cooperative agreements. Farmers are paid for their work by receiving hay or a share of a crop. The District's share of crops is left standing in the field as winter food for deer and pheasants.

A Broad Range of Values

Wetlands aid in controlling flooding. During periods of high water, marshes store runoff water, slowly releasing it into streams, thereby preventing an abrupt discharge of water, which can worsen flooding. Wetland waters also percolate into the ground to recharge underground waters.

The large, deeper wetlands are well known for the wildlife they produce and attract. Yet, the smaller temporary wetlands also are important to waterfowl and other wildlife. Shallow wetlands warm up first in the spring, producing billions of insect larvae and other protein-rich food eaten by migrating waterfowl. This high-protein, calcium-rich food will ready females for egg production. Temporary wetlands also provide valuable courtship space for pairs of waterfowl.

It is the water, food, and cover of the larger, deeper marshes that attract duck broods and large flocks of migrants in the fall. Hunters, birdwatchers, and photographers are attracted as well.

A Shared Task

Protecting South Dakota's wetlands is an enormous job. We are indeed fortunate that other agencies, private groups, and individuals share in this effort. These include the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, various Joint Ventures, and thousands of farmers and ranchers who conserve wetlands on their property. By protecting wetlands, these groups and individuals make South Dakota a more interesting, and better place to live.

The public lands of the Madison Wetland Management District - called Waterfowl Production Areas - are a part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas are vitally important. They provide food, water, cover, and space for hundreds of species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and plants. These lands are managed to benefit endangered species, migratory birds and other wildlife



Last updated: April 27, 2011