Grassland Habitat on the Refuge
Grassland habitat

The grassland unit of the Refuge consists of approximately 5,000 acres.  The goal for the grassland unit is to provide a healthy and diverse habitat to sustain a variety of both migratory and resident birds as well as other wildlife.

The predominant habitat of the grassland unit is uplands - consisting of grass and forb species. The primary purpose of this habitat is to provide optimal nesting conditions through diversity and structure of the cover.  This upland cover needs occasional management treatments such as haying, burning, mowing and/or grazing to maintain plant vigor. This management benefits Refuge priority species such as the Long-billed curlew, as well as Sandhill cranes, Short-eared owls and Grasshopper sparrows.
There are also approximately 30 constructed wetlands throughout the grassland unit ranging in size from one to fifty acres which provide emergent marsh habitat.  These wetlands also need management treatments such as timely draw downs of water and wetland plant management through burning, grazing, mowing and/or chemical treatments.  These wetlands areas then provide excellent brood rearing and resting areas for waterbird species, including Cinnamon teal, a Refuge priority species.

Facts About Grasslands

Though the majority of habitat on the Refuge is wetlands, the grassland portions support a wide variety of wildlife and provide feeding and nesting areas for many grassland species such as Long-billed curlew, Sandhill crane, Western meadowlarks, and Savannah and Grasshopper sparrows.