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Through carefully-designed methods, Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge's plant and animal communities are continually being studied.

The Primary purpose of Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge is to provide habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl. 

Waterfowl Surveys

Throughout each year, formal field survey are conducted by Refuge staff.  Winter waterfowl survey are conducted annually on a bi-weekly basis to collect waterfowl usage numbers for the refuge lands.  Please look at the link below to see a few graphs showing our migration numbers and patterns. 

Waterfowl Graphs 2
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Flint Hills staff banded mallards on the Neosho River in the 1980s.  Over the following decade, many of these ducks were recovered by hunters throughout the continent.  This information helps managers understand waterfowl migration and the flyways that Flint Hills NWR serves. 

Graduate Studies

Flint Hills NWR cooperates with universities to support graduate research projects.  Thesis topics include: small mammal communities, waste grain use by Canada geese, wetland soil microbes, etc.  One recent study measured the physiological responses of snake's stress caused by captivity by using local species found on the refuge.  

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Catching snakes 

Vegetation Mapping

In order to better equip planning efforts for the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) process, a baseline vegetation map of Flint Hills was identified as a necessity.  The development of the vegetation map and associated report was a multi-step process, involving study of aerial photographs, several months of ground-truthing of vegetation types, and data analysis.

Deer Research

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a disorder affecting deer in many areas of the country.  Although not documented in the Flint Hills NWR area, more information is needed on deer population density, movement patterns, and group dynamics to better assess the potential spread of the disease should it ever occur in the area.  

Annually, the Flint Hills NWR staff conduct deer density surveys to gain a understanding on deer numbers and management activities for the future.

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White-tailed deer.