Resource Management

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In order to maintain healthy habitats and the wildlife populations they support, Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) staff use a variety of habitat management techniques. Refuge staff scientifically evaluate management techniques and employ them to minimize the effects of introduced species and restore native habitats across the Refuge.

Wildlife species are intimately tied to the landscape. The food, water, shelter, and space that are provided on Refuge lands determine what wildlife species use those lands. Diverse habitats support diverse and unique wildlife and plant populations. To help provide these diverse habitats, refuge staff use a variety of management techniques to maintain, restore or enhance plant and wildlife values. In order to provide a favorable environment for the native vegetation and wildlife at Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), the Refuge management uses multiple approaches and tools.

Management in a grassland ecosystem is designed to mimic the natural ecological processes of fire and grazing. Historically, prairies were shaped by frequent and intense wild fires and massive herds of grazing bison and other species like deer and antelope. Refuge managers today use cattle and fire to create diverse stands of native grasses and wildflowers that provide important habitat for a variety of prairie species. Many species of ground nesting prairie birds like meadowlarks, bobolinks, upland sandpipers, savannah sparrows, mallards, blue-winged teal and other waterfowl use the lush prairie grasses and wildflowers to hide their nests from predators.

Water levels in the managed wetlands along the Wild Rice River are carefully monitored to foster desired plant growth to provide optimal cover and food for wetland nesting birds including grebes, ducks, and shorebirds. Raising or lowering the water level, can dramatically change the type and amount of food and cover available to nesting birds. There are over 50 water management structures located on the Refuge. Most of the structures can be used to capture precipitation and hold some water back to create open water habitat. Water birds need different water level depths including dry mudflats, so managers try to provide a diversity of water depths for shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl. Management techniques and activities are monitored to measure the biological success of the treatments. Vegetation monitoring is conducted annually to provide information back to managers and biologists to make decisions on duration, timing and type of treatment needed.