What We Do

Although the management at Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge is focused on migratory waterfowl, management activities also promote other migratory birds, and many wildlife species that live here year round. We also protect remaining areas of native tallgrass prairie that once dominated the landscape and restore additional prairies. Refuge staff restore and manage forested areas that occur naturally along streams and rivers. 

Management and Conservation

Most of these natural wetlands have been lost throughout the river floodplain because of agriculture and other developments. To mimic the natural wet and dry cycles on the Refuge, the staff actively manages over 2,500 acres of restored wetland habitat through the use of pumps, levees, and water control structures. The Refuge staff uses different management practices to restore or enhance wetlands including mechanical and chemical control of undesirable and non-native plant species. The staff rotates treatment of wetland units on multi-year management practice to allow for growth of desirable species for migratory waterfowl.

Because of the destructive power of flood events along the Neosho River annual maintenance to wetland levees and water control structures is required. These structures are built in a manner that reduces damage or in a manner that isolates the damage to a location where it can be easily repaired.

Small areas of native prairie remain intact at Flint Hills. Current management is directed at protecting those unique and diverse prairies. The tallgrass prairie is adapted to wildfire intervals of every 3-5 years and without fire, soon converted to forest. Refuge staff use prescribed fire is employed to mimic this wildfire interval.  Haying and grazing prairie areas mimic the grazing by bison that naturally occurred.