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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Ecological Services
1 Federal Drive
Fort Snelling, MN 55118
Phone: (612) 713-5467
E-Mail: Tom_Magnuson@fws.gov

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Case Study 1 - Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge

For over 60 years, Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) has provided important resting, nesting, and feeding habitat for thousands of birds during their annual migrations north and south. During years of drought, the Refuge’s stable water conditions provide essential habitat for many regional species. A peak of forty-nine thousand ducks and over 240 different species of birds have been recorded on Union Slough Refuge since its inception in 1937. The Refuge, its wildlife, fish, and wildlands attract more than 8,000 visitors each year.

Back in the early 1990s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others became concerned for the Refuge’s long-term environmental health and wildlife productivity. Studies done in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s documented a declining status of numerous grassland and wetland dependent wildlife populations, and how habitat loss and alteration were common causal factors in many of these declines. Since the early 1950’s, grassland nesting duck production had been unacceptably low, and water quality in Refuge wetlands had deteriorated due to sedimentation and eutrophication due to runoff. A consensus emerged that the long-term biological health of the Refuge was highly dependent on the ecological health of the Refuge watershed.

In response to these concerns, in 1994 the decision was made to develop a Comprehensive Management Plan (Plan) for the Refuge and portions of its watershed (approximately 25,000 acres). The Plan would articulate management direction for the Refuge for a 15 year period that would:

  • provide a clear statement of the desired future conditions when Refuge purposes and goals are accomplished.

  • provide Refuge neighbors and visitors with a clear understanding of the reasons for management actions on and around the Refuge.

  • ensure that management of the Refuge reflects policies and goals of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

  • ensure that Refuge management is consistent with Federal, State, and County plans.

  • provide long-term continuity in Refuge management.

  • provide a basis for operation, maintenance and capitol improvement budget requests.

Please follow this link to read the entire case study.


Last updated: August 6, 2015