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Wildlife & Habitat

Prairie Habitat and Wildflowers

  • Blue-winged Teal Hen and Ducklings

    Blue-winged Teal Hen and Ducklings

    Blue-winged teal are small dabbling ducks that nest in the northern prairies. Although they are one of the most abundant breeding ducks on tallgrass prairie, their numbers have been steadily declining since the 1970s. These pint-sized ducks fly farther between feeding and resting areas than any other ducks in North America. They are usually the first ducks to fly south in the fall and the last ones to return in the spring. Look for blue-winged teal on waterfowl production areas from spring to fall.

  • Short-eared Owl

    Short-eared Owl

    The short-eared owl may be seen flying low over the prairie during the day, its "moth-like" flight drawing your attention. Since 1984, this medium-sized, long-winged, buffy brown owl has been listed as “a species of special concern” in the state of Minnesota. Short-eared owls prefer large tracts of open habitat such as native prairie or sedge marshes. Habitat loss due to increased agriculture and drainage of wetlands has caused declines in the short-eared owl population. The district’s efforts to provide, restore, and enhance these open habitats are crucial to the success and survival of the short-eared owl.

  • Northern Leopard Frog

    Northern Leopard Frog

    Forty different species of reptiles and amphibians have been found within the Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District. The northern leopard frog is one of the more common species you are likely to find while venturing through the waterfowl production areas. Although this species is still very widely spread, its populations have been in decline since the 1960s. It is the often called the “meadow wanderer” of frogs because it ventures farther from bodies of water than other frogs. In April, males start calling from wetlands to attract females, which may then lay up to 6,000 little black eggs.

  • Northern Tallgrass Prairie

    Northern Tallgrass Prairie

    The northern tallgrass prairie is arguably one of the most damaged habitats in the country. Less than 1% of native tallgrass prairie remains in Minnesota, and prairies have been described as North America’s most endangered ecosystem. This grass and wildflower dominated habitat is essential for many species such as mallards, bobolinks, upland sandpipers, meadowlarks, and other ground-nesting birds. Ring-necked pheasants, white-tailed deer, many insect pollinators, and other wildlife live on the prairie. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to restore, conserve, and manage this habitat on both public and private lands with countless partners.  The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes who are willing to work with us and other partners on a voluntary basis to help meet the habitat needs of our Federal Trust Species.

  • Prairie Pothole Region

    Ducks in Prairie Pothole

    The Prairie Pothole Region, often referred to as America’s “Duck Factory,” is a complex of diverse wetlands (ranging in size from small, ephemeral pools to deeper, permanent basins) surrounded by tallgrass prairie. This unique landscape was carved out by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, and the region stretches from Iowa up through Canada. Wetlands in this region provide food and habitat for amphibians, waterfowl, insects, and shorebirds. Wetlands support highly diverse plant communities and act as sponges to retain and filter runoff water. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restores and conserves wetlands on both public and private lands with countless partners.  The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes who are willing to work with us and other partners on a voluntary basis to help meet the habitat needs of our Federal Trust Species.
     

  • Oak Savanna

    Oak Savanna

    Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District lies within a transition zone between tallgrass prairie and forest habitats. Within this transition zone, the unique oak savanna community thrives in the open, dry environment. Oak savanna is characterized by sparse oak trees, often found on dry, south-facing slopes or areas with sandy soils, surrounded by healthy tallgrass prairie. Through intensive management, district biologists strive to restore, enhance, and maintain oak savanna habitat. We use prescribed fire, mowing, and herbicides to minimize the overgrowth of woodland species and encourage tallgrass prairie biodiversity in the understory.
     

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2012
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