Resource Management

To help plants and wildlife,refuge staff uses variety of habitat management techniques to maintain,recover or enhance plant and wildlife values.

Refuge staff carefully considers many management techniques and employs them in varying degrees according to the situation.

Sensitive areas are often closed to the public so that wildlife populations can feed and rest with minimal disturbance. Water level manipulation, cooperative farming, mowing, and planting native plants are also some of the tools used to protect, restore and enhance national wildlife refuges. Standardized ground and aerial wildlife surveys and vegetation surveys are conducted to inventory populations and document habitat use. Units are evaluated by how well they meet habitat and wildlife use objectives.

Public involvement and input are important to us and to the planning process, and we hope you will take an active interest in what the refuge does for you individually and as a community.

Water Level Manipulation 

The ability to manipulate water levels in wetlands is vital to providing quality habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.  Our goal is to provide a complex of wetland habitats for waterfowl, cranes and other waterbirds, all of which contribute to meeting goals of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and other initiatives. We manage 16 impoundments to provide open water and moist soil habitats and areas where agricultural crops can be flooded.  Management consists of manipulating water flows through water control structures by adjusting the height of the structure. Many impoundments are located within dewatering units that utilize mechanical pumps to remove water.

 Cooperative Farming 

We have an active cooperative farming program to provide food and needed habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife.  It is a mutually beneficial arrangement where farmers, under a cooperative agreement, farm refuge land under guidelines and restrictions, including crop location, types of crops planted and chemicals used. It is designed for farmers to plant, grow, and harvest a portion of the crop, leaving a portion or share for wildlife.  Approximately 3,500 acres of refuge land are farmed annually.  Corn, millet, and wheat are planted to supplement natural foods. Corn is the preferred crop for refuge shares, although millet is planted in areas too wet for corn production. 

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. Click here for more information on trapping within the National Wildlife Refuge System.