Newsroom Midwest Region

Restoring seasonal wetlands just got easier in Minnesota

July 11, 2017

Anderson Waterfowl Production Area. Photo by Rebecca Esser/USFWS.
Anderson Waterfowl Production Area. Photo by Rebecca Esser/USFWS.

One of the oldest waterfowl production areas in Becker County celebrated a milestone in wetland conservation near Audubon, Minnesota. Thanks to Ducks Unlimited, Anderson Waterfowl Production Area now has four new, variable-crest water level control structures to help staff better mimic the seasonal wetlands that once defined the prairie pothole region.

Regional Director Tom Melius was on hand to mark the occasion with Ducks Unlimited leadership, Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District staff and community members. To make this project possible, Ducks Unlimited leveraged Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funding to engineer and oversee the construction of structures on the outlets of four large wetlands to enhance 108 acres of waterfowl habitat.

“I am very pleased to be here today as we mark this accomplishment. Working together with Ducks Unlimited and local authorities to continue conservation work on the ground is central to our shared missions,” said Regional Director Tom Melius.

Since the first tract was acquired in the mid-1960s, Anderson has grown to become one of the most well-known waterfowl production areas in the Detroit Lakes-area. In addition to providing excellent hunting opportunities for hunt deer, turkey, and waterfowl, Anderson has become quite popular with avid birders and other wildlife enthusiasts. Project leader Ryan Frohling notes that this area has long been known for its importance to waterfowl.

“You can find accounts from the 1800s that talk about the numbers of ducks, swans, and geese that nested here. While Anderson Waterfowl Production Area predates Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, these structures will complement the water management already taking place there,” said Frohling.

Anderson is a priority waterfowl production area of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District and staff have collaborated on multiple projects to improve its overall habitat quality, including oak savanna restoration and other wetland enhancements.

“Places like this don’t happen by accident, they happen because hunters and other conservationists want them protected. They happen because of the Federal Duck Stamp, which is perhaps our most successful conservation program to date,” said Melius.

Areas like Anderson are purchased using dollars from the sale of the Federal Duck Stamp. 98 cents out of every Duck Stamp dollar goes into acquiring places like this and provide some of America’s prime hunting.

Once we have lands like this, we want to keep them as healthy for wildlife and people as possible. Thanks to Ducks Unlimited’s engineering expertise, district staff are now able to mirror the wetland management work they are already doing at Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge near by.

Biologists and land managers are now able to restore and manage different types of wetlands that will maximize the varied food and habitat needs for a whole diversity of wildlife. Whether it’s waterfowl, shorebirds, secretive marsh birds, or other wildlife that depend on wetlands, they have a place here.

Land acquisition and management efforts are focused in the prairie pothole region of the district, with a goal of providing habitat for nesting waterfowl. About 3,200 acres of remnant tallgrass prairie have been saved, while thousands of acres of prairie pothole wetlands and tallgrass prairie vegetation have been restored.

Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District manages hundreds of federally owned waterfowl production areas in Becker, Clay, Mahnomen, Norman and Polk Counties in northwest Minnesota. Learn more about the district.

Ryan Frohling, Tom Melius, and Ducks Unlimited Minnesota State Chair Ruth Hoefs. Photo by Rebecca Esser/USFWS.
Ryan Frohling, Tom Melius, and Ducks Unlimited Minnesota State Chair Ruth Hoefs. Photo by Rebecca Esser/USFWS.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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