Resource Management

Prescribed burn photo

To help Plants and wildlife, refuge staff uses a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife values.  Refuge staff carefully considers any management techniques and employ them in varying degrees according to the situation.  





Prior to refuge establishment, significant alterations occurred to vegetation and hydrology. Although much of the native tallgrass prairie was cleared for agriculture, native habitats still occur within bottomland hardwood forests, tallgrass prairie, and gravel beds harboring freshwater mussels. Former agricultural fields provide sites for restoration of forests, tallgrass prairie and the creation of moist soil imoundments. 



Bottomland Hardwood Forests


Marais des Cygnes serves an important role as an anchor for biodiversity in the bottomland hardwood forests. Habitat management includes timber stand improvement with combined burning and mechanical thinning of forest species. 

Bottomland hardwood 200x150


Tallgrass Prairie


Through a combination of invasive species control, rest and variable burn timing, Marais des Cygnes prairies provide structural diversity, maintain conservative forbs and keep woody encroachment from invading restored and native prairie. 

Tallgrass 200x150




The Refuge provides 300 acres of moist soil impoundments for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Water in these units is obtained naturally and is managed to simulate natural hydrology.

Stickpond 150x200




To maintain enough herbaceous cover within shrublands the Refuge manages for shrubland dependent species through mowing and burning practices. 

Trapping Occurs on this Refuge

Trapping is a wildlife management tool used on some national wildlife refuges. Trapping may be used to protect endangered and threatened species or migratory birds or to control certain wildlife populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also views trapping as a legitimate recreational and economic activity when there are harvestable surpluses of fur-bearing mammals. Outside of Alaska, refuges that permit trapping as a recreational use may require trappers to obtain a refuge special use permit. Signs are posted on refuges where trapping occurs. Contact the refuge manager for specific regulations.

Trapping on National Wildlife Refuges