Resource Management

Prescribed Burn 512x219

The Florence Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is managed using prescribed fire, grazing, haying, and planting of native grasses on previously farmed fields. Small infestations of invasive exotic (non-native) plants are managed to eliminate them or control them where elimination is not feasible.

Resource management provides life requirements of waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife and delivers quality wildlife-dependent recreation. Management activities include grazing, haying/weed control, water level management, rest and prescribed burning.

Grazing is done through a permit process with neighboring ranchers. This allows the Refuge to meet grazing objectives while providing rest on private pastureland. Grazing is generally done in the spring and early summer to stress exotic cool-season grasses such as Kentucky blue-grass and brome grass. In return native grasses and forbs are favored and hopefully out compete exotic grasses in the future.

Haying/weed control is usually done on newly established grass seedings or weed infested areas. A permit is issued to a local farmer/rancher that allows clipping and baling of grass, usually after August 1st. This conserves Refuge resources by not having to haul equipment and clip the infestations. In return the farmer/rancher’s cattle utilize the grass during the long winter months.

Prairies generally need frequent, carefully timed, defoliation. One defoliation method used is prescribed fire. Prescribed burning is usually conducted on areas where grazing isn’t available or newly established native grass seedings. Burns are conducted by Refuge staff with occasional help from volunteers such as rural fire departments.