The Northeast Montana Wetland Management District (WMD) is administered from Medicine Lake NWR. The WMD was established in 1968 and consists of 44 Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) and more than 230 wetland and/or grassland easement tracts in Sheridan , Daniels, and Roosevelt Counties . The purpose of the WMD is to provide breeding habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. The Northeast Montana WMD is bounded on the north by the Canadian province of Saskatchewan , on the south by the Missouri River , and on the east by North Dakota. Total acreage of WPAs is 11,791 acres. An additional 10,968 acres of grasslands and 8,588 acres of wetlands are protected under easements.
Waterfowl Production Areas
Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are lands owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. WPAs are purchased with money generated from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps. The 44 WPAs on the Northeast Montana WMD range in size from the 4-acre Muddy Creek WPA to Goose Lake WPA at 1,660 acres. WPAs provide wetlands and surrounding grasslands for the benefit of waterfowl and other migratory birds. Hunting is permitted on WPAs in accordance with State and Federal regulations. Wetland Production Areas map
Grassland easements are privately owned lands covered with a legal agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the landowner. This agreement provides payment to the landowner to permanently keep the land in grass cover. Many landowners never plan to put their land into crop production and may benefit from the cash incentive an easement provides. Land covered by a grassland easement cannot be cultivated. Grazing is not restricted in any way. Mowing, haying, and grass seed harvesting are allowed but must be delayed until after July 15 th of each year. This requirement provides cover for grassland nesting bird species and allows time to complete the nesting period before the grass is disturbed. Many wildlife species depend on grasslands for food, cover, and nesting sites.
Similar to grassland easements, wetland easements are privately owned lands covered with a legal agreement through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to permanently protect wetlands. Wetlands on these land tracts cannot be drained, filled, leveled, or burned. When these wetlands dry up naturally they can be farmed, grazed, or hayed. Wetlands provide crucial habitat for many types of wildlife including waterfowl and other migratory bird species. Protecting wetlands ensures these habitats, wildlife, and benefits will be there for future generations.
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