How does a wetland management district differ from a national wildlife refuge?

  1. A national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
    A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

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    is typically a contiguous block of land. In contrast, a wetland management district wetland management district
    A wetland management district is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office that manages waterfowl production areas in one or more counties. Waterfowl production areas are small natural wetlands and grasslands that provide breeding, resting and nesting habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, grassland birds and other wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service acquires waterfowl production areas under the authority of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act, primarily using funds from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps. The Refuge System’s 38 wetland management districts comprise thousands of waterfowl production areas – almost all in the Prairie Pothole Region of the Northern Great Plains.

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    is made up of scattered waterfowl production areas and conservation easements in multiple counties. For instance, Kulm Wetland Management District comprises 200 waterfowl production areas, totaling more than 45,000 acres, and administers more than 225,000 acres of conservation easements in a four-county area of southeastern North Dakota.

  2. While a national wildlife refuge is closed to many public-use activities unless specifically opened, in a wetland management district, waterfowl production areas are open to certain types of public recreation (hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, etc.) unless specifically closed. Access to land with a conservation easement conservation easement
    A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a government agency or qualified conservation organization that restricts the type and amount of development that may take place on a property in the future. Conservation easements aim to protect habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife by limiting residential, industrial or commercial development. Contracts may prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland and establishment of game farms. Easement land remains in private ownership.

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    or a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program agreement is a property right retained by each private landowner.