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The 18th Annual Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Birds and State Programs staff, in partnership with the Minnesota Waterfowl Association and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hosted the 18th Annual Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium, February 7, at the Mall of America Ramada in Bloomington.

Waterfowl hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and natural resource managers attended the day-long public event to celebrate Minnesota’s waterfowl and wetland resources, and discuss issues surrounding waterfowl and wetland habitat management in Minnesota. The Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium gives Minnesota’s waterfowl hunters and enthusiasts the opportunity to interact with biologists and managers representing various conservation agencies and organizations, both state and federal.

Redheads were this year’s featured species. Redheads are a fairly common breeding species of diving duck that nests in the prairie portions of western and south central Minnesota. They nest almost exclusively over water in larger cattail marshes. Their population has been fairly stable over the past 20 years in Minnesota, but has increased continentally over the same time period. Redheads mainly winter along the Gulf coast in Texas, with smaller numbers wintering on the east coast. Typically about 20,000 redheads are harvested each fall in Minnesota, which often trails only Texas in annual redhead harvest.

This year’s event featured a host of great speakers and presentations including opening remarks by Dave Scott, Migratory Birds and States Programs Assistant Regional Director, and Paul Telander, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Section chief. The agenda included a Redhead “Ecology and Management in Minnesota” presentation by Steve Cordts; and Nicole Hansel-Welch, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, discussed shallow lake management and the role of Outdoor Heritage Funding in managing shallow lakes for waterfowl. Brian Watson, Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District discussed grassroots conservation; Doug Lodermeier, Minnesota Decoy Collectors Association, gave a presentation about antique decoy collecting; and Bruce Davis, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Dave Fronczak spoke about the importance of waterfowl banding. Todd Arnold, University of Minnesota, was on hand to discuss American coots; and Greg Hoch, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, offered a presentation on implementation of the Minnesota Prairie Plan.

The symposium will concluded with a panel discussion and question-and-answer session featuring Dave Zentner, representing the Concerned Duck Hunters Group, Tom Landwehr, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner, and Jim Kelly, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mississippi Flyway Representative.

Throughout the day, demonstration and information booths were available for those attending. They included the junior duck stamp display, a gunsmith booth where a gunsmith answered gun fitting and repair questions, cooking with wild game, other uses for wild game besides meat, and information about Minnesota Waterfowl Association and the DNR Shallow Lakes Program.

Attendees also had the opportunity to check out the Minnesota Decoy Collectors Association Annual Decoy Show hosted across the hall at the same location.

Following the symposium, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association held its 6th annual Minnesota Waterfowl Hall of Fame Banquet where significant contributors to Minnesota’s waterfowl legacy were recognized.

By Larry Dean
Regional Office – External Affairs

Last updated: March 5, 2015