Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District was established in 1962 as part of the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District, with the advent of the Accelerated Small Wetlands Acquisition Program. After various iterations, the district was restructured and renamed in 1975 as the name we know today. The district manages hundreds of federally owned waterfowl productions areas in Becker, Clay, Mahnomen, Norman and Polk Counties in northwest Minnesota. The district is divided into three general landscape areas: the Red River Valley floodplain, the glacial moraine/prairie pothole region and the hardwood/coniferous forest. Land acquisition and management efforts are focused in the prairie pothole region of the district, with a goal of providing habitat for nesting waterfowl. About 3,200 acres of remnant tallgrass prairie have been saved, while thousands of acres of prairie pothole wetlands and tallgrass prairie vegetation have been restored. These habitats are not only critical for waterfowl but are beneficial to other wildlife species as well.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.