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Resource Management

MarshBurn-USFWSx520Maintaining healthy wildlife populations and conserving and enhancing wetland habitats are the main goals of the refuge's management program. These goals are accomplished primarily through water management, farming, and prescribed burning.

Water Management

About 800 acres in four main wetland impoundments are managed for moist soil plants or submerged aquatic vegetation. This is accomplished by seasonal manipulation of impoundment water levels. Vegetation sampling and water quality monitoring are conducted periodically in all refuge wetland and open water habitats.

Cooperative Farming

About 200 acres of upland habitat is managed under a cooperative farming program. The program is managed to provide a supplemental food source for wintering waterfowl and to help limit crop depredation by waterfowl on nearby private lands.

Prescribed Fire

About 6,000 acres of marsh habitat are managed with prescribed fire (2,000 acres each year on a 3-year rotation) to provide feeding habitat for wintering snow geese, to stimulate growth of beneficial plant species, to control pest plants (Phragmites), and to prevent wildfire danger to adjoining private lands. . Once a prescribed burn has occurred, the fuels from the land will have burned and will not burn again, or will not burn as intensively compared to land that was not burned. Fires release nutrients back into the soil, remove undesirable vegetation, and stimulate growth of early successional plants eaten by a variety of wildlife.

Annual wildlife surveys for wintering waterfowl are conducted to obtain population trend information. Osprey and wood duck nesting structures are maintained and surveyed annually to monitor nesting success. Wood ducks are trapped and banded as part of a national inventory program.

Page Photo Credits — Marsh Burn by USFWS
Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014
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