Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are part of the National Wildlife Refuge System – a network of public lands administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set aside specifically for wildlife. WPAs preserve wetlands and grasslands critical to waterfowl and other wildlife. Nearly 95 percent of WPAs are located in the prairie pothole areas of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. By law, WPAs are open to hunting, fishing, and trapping. Many WPAs also provide unique opportunities for other important wildlife-dependent uses including wildlife observation, photography, research, and environmental education.
Clark’s Fork WPA The Clark’s Fork WPA is a 271-acre tract of land located along the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River. This WPA has 1.5 miles of river frontage. After acquiring the tract through the Farmer’s Home Administration, the Service coordinated a wetland creation project with Ducks Unlimited and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The wetland is 66 acres in size and is surrounded by excellent dense nesting cover (a mixture of grasses and legumes which supply cover for nesting female ducks). The narrowleaf cottonwood/redosier dogwood community type along the river attracts a wide diversity of wildlife providing excellent observation opportunities. Waterfowl, upland game birds (sharp-tailed grouse and pheasants), white-tailed deer, and numerous other non-game species can be observed either year-round or seasonally. Unusual species documented on this WPA include – a nesting pair of greater sandhill cranes, a bull moose, a black bear that fed on carp for two-weeks in the river, trumpeter swans (likely from Yellowstone National Park), and a greater egret.
Access into the WPA is by foot only. Please park in the designated parking area.Spidel WPA Acquired in 1980, Spidel WPA is located 3-miles northeast of Broadview, MT in Golden Valley and Yellowstone counties and is managed by the Service for waterfowl production. This 1,246-acre WPA contains 700 acres of drained wetland. The wetland acreage was drained years ago by previous owners in an effort to increase crop production. Despite the reduced habitat value of the wetland, large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds can still be found at Spidel WPA and it is a locally popular area to observe black-necked stilts. The Service plans to restore the wetland in the future in the hopes that it will impound enough water to assure brood survival over the summer.
Access into this WPA is by foot only. Please park in the designated parking area.Tew WPA This 692 acre WPA is located 15-miles northeast of Broadview in Musselshell County. It is one of a few areas in central Montana with natural temporary and seasonal wetland basins. The six wetland basins are surrounded by uplands that have been seeded to dense nesting cover (a mixture of grasses and legumes which supply cover for nesting female ducks). When it is wet, this WPA provides excellent nesting and brood rearing habitat for waterfowl and other game and non-game species of wildlife.
Access into this WPA is by foot only. Please park in the designated parking area.
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The interface where sagebrush and wetland ecosystems merge provides a unique habitat transition and can be seen throughout the district.