Wetland Management District
|1710 360th St.
Titonka, IA 50480
Phone Number: 515-928-2523
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
|Waterfowl Production Areas provide habitat for migrating and nesting waterfowl.|
Iowa Wetland Management District
The Iowa Wetland Management District is administered by Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge but is very different from other wetland management districts. Under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (State), the State manages many of the waterfowl production areas (WPAs) in the district. This is a partnership that has been very beneficial to the Service. Together, the State and the Service have been able to develop large complexes of habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species.
Although the Wetland Management District encompasses 35 counties, at this date, there are 75 WPAs in 18 counties. Most acquisitions are intended to increase habitat at existing wetland complexes, so it is unlikely that tracts will be acquired in the entire 35-county area.
There are over 25,000 acres of WPAs' and nearly 1,000 acres of easement on privately owned land in the Wetland Management District. Most WPAs are small, from 100 to 500 acres, but several have grown considerably. Union Hills WPA in Cerro Gordo County is the largest in Iowa at over 2,000 acres. Spring Run, a large complex of State and Federal lands in Dickinson County, is the second largest WPA. Dugout Creek WPA in Dickinson County and Lower Morse Lake in Wright County are also among the larger restored tracts in the Iowa Wetland Management District.
Getting There . . .
The Iowa Wetland Management District is managed by staff at the Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is roughly 2.5 hours southwest of Minneapolis and northwest of Des Moines. From Algona, take Highway 169 north to Bancroft; turn right (east) on county road A-42, and proceed six miles to the office at 1710 360th St. From Interstate 90, take the Blue Earth, MN, exit and follow Rt. 169 south into Iowa. At Lakota, follow P60 south to A42, then west 0.25 miles on A42 to the office.
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The purpose of waterfowl production areas is to provide habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl. When these areas are first acquired, they usually consist of cropped fields and drained wetlands. Therefore, extensive manipulation is required to meet management goals.
Drained wetlands are restored by plugging ditches or building small water control structures. On the uplands, native grasses, legumes, and introduced grasses are seeded to provide dense nesting cover for ducks and other wildlife. Native grasses may be managed by prescribed burning, haying or grazing.