Refuge staff carefully considers many management techniques and employs them in varying degrees according to the situation.
Sensitive areas are often closed to the public so that wildlife populations can feed and rest with
minimal disturbance. Water level manipulation, cooperative farming, mowing,
and planting native plants are also some of the
tools used to protect, restore
and enhance national
wildlife refuges. Standardized ground and aerial wildlife surveys and vegetation surveys
are conducted to inventory populations and document habitat use. Units are evaluated
by how well they meet habitat and wildlife use objectives.
Public involvement and input are important to us and to the planning process,
and we hope you will take an active
interest in what the refuge does for you individually and as
Water Level Manipulation
The ability to manipulate water levels in wetlands is vital
to providing quality habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Our goal is to provide a complex of wetland
habitats for waterfowl, cranes and other waterbirds, all of which contribute to
meeting goals of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, North
American Waterfowl Management Plan, and other initiatives. We manage 16
impoundments to provide open water and moist soil habitats and areas where
agricultural crops can be flooded. Management
consists of manipulating water flows through water control structures by
adjusting the height of the structure. Many impoundments are located within
dewatering units that utilize mechanical pumps to remove water.
We have an active cooperative farming program to provide food
and needed habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement where
farmers, under a cooperative agreement, farm refuge land under guidelines and
restrictions, including crop location, types of crops planted and chemicals
used. It is designed for farmers to plant, grow, and harvest a portion of the
crop, leaving a portion or share for wildlife.
Approximately 3,500 acres of refuge land are farmed annually. Corn, millet, and wheat are planted to supplement
natural foods. Corn is the preferred crop for refuge shares, although millet is
planted in areas too wet for corn production.
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Join us as we celebrate the majesty of the Sandhill and Whooping Crane January 9th and 10th, 2016