About the Refuge

Iowa Wetland Management District

The Iowa Wetland Management District was established in 1979 to provide breeding habitat for waterfowl, as well as nesting and migratory habitat for a wide variety of other migratory birds.

The Iowa Wetland Management District is very different from other wetland management districts in that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages many of the waterfowl productions areas. Together, the DNR and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been able to develop large complexes of habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species within a predominantly agricultural landscape.

Although the district boundary encompasses 35 counties, at this time there are 75 waterfowl production areas in only 18 of those counties. Most land purchases are intended to increase habitat at existing wetland complexes, so it is unlikely that land will be purchased in the entire 35-county area. The waterfowl production areas range in size from 35 acres to over 2000 acres, and provide over 25,000 total acres of habitat. In addition, some waterfowl production areas within the district have been recognized as part of twelve Important Bird Areas established by the Audubon Society and five Iowa Bird Conservation Areas, as defined under the North American Bird Conservation Initiative.