Resource Management

Grass Easment

Grasslands are managed with emphasis on providing optimum nesting cover for upland-nesting waterfowl.

Upland habitat management is geared toward providing tall and dense nesting cover on a high percentage of uplands for nesting birds, especially waterfowl. Rejuvenation of decadent grasslands and the control of invasive plant species is accomplished through an active management program of grazing, prescribed burning, haying, farming, reseeding, invasive plant control, and habitat monitoring. Grasslands are categorized as dense nesting cover, introduced cool season grasses, and reseeded native grasses. Vegetative structure differs greatly between the three habitat types resulting in different management objectives. 

The grassland vegetation of the northern Great Plains evolved under periodic disturbance and defoliation from bison and fire. This periodic disturbance is what made the prairie healthy and a place of enormous diversity for thousands of years. Fire in grassland ecosystems is essential for maintaining healthy vegetation in grasslands, wetlands, and some woodlands for wildlife habitat. Wetland Management District staff conduct prescribed fire management treatments on selected units of the district replicating historic wildfire events that benefit prairie landscapes. Domestic cattle are used in prescribed grazing treatments on selected units to also improve grasslands, control invasive species and increase plant diversity.  

Standardized ground and aerial wildlife surveys and vegetation surveys are conducted throughout the year to inventory populations and document habitat use. Units are evaluated by how well they met habitat and wildlife use objectives. 

For more information about management in the district, please contact the Sand Lake office.