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Wildlife & Habitat

Mallards on a Wetland

One of the primary goals of Big Stone Wetland Management District is to provide habitat for migratory birds.  Waterfowl Production Areas and Northern Tallgrass Prairie units host a diversity of plant and wildlife while also supporting healthy migratory bird populations.

  • Dakota Skipper

    Dakota Skipper

    The dakota skipper is a butterfly species native to tallgrass and mixed grass prairies of the northern Great Plains. It faces loss and degradation of its prairie habitat due to changing land use practices across the landscape. This butterfly inhabits wet, lowland prairie dominated by bluestem grasses as well as dry upland prairie

  • Grasshopper Sparrow

    Grasshopper Sparrow

    The grasshopper sparrow is a secretive bird found in the open prairie grasslands. This sparrow is more often heard than seen and gets its name not only from its diet, but also from its insect-like song.

  • Upland Sandpiper

    Upland Sandpiper

    The Upland Sandpiper is a large sandpiper closely related to the curlews. The adult is 28–32 cm long with a 50–55 cm wingspan. It has long yellow legs and a long neck and tail. The head and neck are light with brown streaks. The breeding habitat is open grasslands and fields across central North America and Alaska. Unlike other sandpipers, it is not associated with water. It is a long-distance migrant and winters in South America.

  • Northern Tallgrass Prairie

    Northern Tallgrass Prairie

     The Northern Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem was once dominated by native grasses that were often between 3 and 6 feet tall. Species of grasses and forbs were very diverse but the most dominant species that define the tall sea of grass include big bluestem, indian grass and switch grass. The native landscape was mostly treeless and early accounts of explorers and settlers described the tallgrass prairie as an open landscape resembling an ocean of grass with the appearance of waves as the wind blew across the long stems. Due to the deep, rich, fertile soil that supported this expanse of grass, the land was also prime for growing crops. As a result, 99% of the tallgrass prairie is now gone. The Wetland Management District strives to protect, conserve and restore as much of that native prairie as possible on our units.

Last Updated: Aug 08, 2012
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