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About the District

About the District: 512x219 Prairie Smoke - D. VanThuyne

The prairies of North Dakota have become an ecological treasure of biological importance for waterfowl and other migratory birds. The prairie potholes of North Dakota support a wide diversity of wildlife, but they are best known for their role in waterfowl production. Complexes of wetlands scattered throughout the Prairie Pothole Region attract abundant numbers of breeding duck pairs.

The National Wildlife Refuge System includes several thousand Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) that preserve wetlands and grasslands critical to waterfowl and other wildlife. Providing vital breeding and nesting habitat to millions of waterfowl, these small depressions or wetlands, bordered by wetland grasses and filled with aquatic life, are the jewels left by receding glaciers following the Ice Age. These "jewels" are found in an area of the northern Great Plains, along with mixed and tall-grass prairies, called the Prairie Pothole Region. 

Wetland Management Districts were formed to manage WPAs and protect and restore waterfowl habitat.  Devils Lake Wetland Management District is located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States and is one of nine wetland management districts within North Dakota. The district headquarters, located in Devils Lake, ND, is responsible for management of over 50,000 acres of WPAs and more than 175,000 acres of conservation easements in an eight county area in northeast North Dakota. Counties within the District include Benson, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Pembina, Ramsey, Towner and Walsh. In addition to WPAs, the District manages four fee-title national wildlife refuges and nine easement interest national wildlife refuges within the eight-county area. 


WPAs are vital waterfowl breeding habitats that were created by an amendment to the Federal Duck Stamp Act in 1958 and are an important tool for wetland conservation. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sales of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to the purchase or lease of wetland habitat for protection within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Federal Duck Stamp Program has been called one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated and is a highly effective way to conserve America’s natural resources.

The District primarily provides wetland areas needed by waterfowl in the spring and summer for nesting and feeding. Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl also use these wetlands in the spring and fall for feeding and resting during their long migratory flights. Primary objectives of the Devils Lake Wetland Management District are wetland habitat preservation and improvement, waterfowl and wildlife production, maintenance of migration habitat, and provision of winter cover for resident wildlife. 

Contact the Devils Lake Wetland Management District Headquarters:

Devils Lake Wetland Management District 

221 2nd Street NW, Suite #2

Devils Lake, ND 58301

Phone:  701 662 8611

E-mail:  devilslake@fws.gov

Last Updated: Apr 04, 2014
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