U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Hamden Slough
National Wildlife Refuge

male ruddy duck on the water
26624 North Tower Road
Detroit Lakes, MN   56501
E-mail: hamdenslough@fws.gov
Phone Number: 218-847-4431
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Many species of waterfowl, including ruddy ducks, rely on the shallow water and prairie habitat that has been restored on the refuge.
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With her were the Minnesota governor and 18 other respected colleagues. They were so impressed with the abundance and diversity of wildlife that Audubon's niece asked the governor to name a township for her famous uncle. Today, the refuge office sits in Audubon Township, one mile from the City of Audubon.

Stories of Hamden Lake's wildlife prominence have been related by the area's older citizens. Stories include: "My father shot whooping cranes, swans and blue cranes." "My uncle...got 13 mallards with one shot." "She used to catch Northerns (pike) that weighed 11 pounds!" "...my mother would go on skates to check the trap line..." "...would have a whole triple wagon box full of hides to sell."

By the early 1900s, agricultural development resulted in 99% of upland grasses being plowed under and extensive wetland drainage. In 1905, both Minnesota's Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture began draining Hamden Lake. The agencies developed a far-reaching drainage system, which today empties a 42-square-mile watershed around the lake. Around the refuge alone, more than 55,000 wetlands have been drained.

By the 1930s, local citizens noted the precipitous decline in wildlife populations in the area and asked both the State and Federal governments for some protection. On four separate occasions over the next 50 years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service considered protecting the area with a refuge.

In September 1989, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved a designated boundary for Hamden Slough Refuge. It is the 452nd refuge of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

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