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Karl E. Mundt
National Wildlife Refuge

One bald eagle stands on a tree branch with a fish in its talons as its mate joins it with another freshly-caught fish.
38672 291 ST
Lake Andes, SD   57356
E-mail: LakeAndes@fws.gov
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Abundant food and stands of mature cottonwood trees adjacent to open water provide ideal roosting habitats for bald eagles.
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In 1922, Congress passed a bill directing the construction of an artificial outlet that lowered the maximum depth of the lake by 13 feet. Water supplies for the lake are wholly dependant on runoff from snow or rain. The water level varies from bone dry to bank full. This natural variation of wet to dry is what makes the lake productive for wildlife.

Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Lake Andes NWR by executive order in 1936. Dikes were built across the lake in the 1940s. The Refuge is comprised of 1,000 acres of Federal land and an easement from the State of South Dakota that provides the authority to manage Lake Andes (4,700 acres) as a national wildlife refuge.

Lake Andes WMD was established in 1961. The 13-county District includes approximately 20,000 acres of Federal lands which are managed as waterfowl production areas. These lands were purchased with revenue from Federal Duck Stamps - a stamp required to hunt waterfowl in the United States. The remainder of the District is made up of approximately 60,000 acres of wetland and grassland easements. These easements are purchased on private lands to protect wetlands from drainage and grasslands from sod-busting.

In the late 1960s, bald eagle populations were declining. The pesticide DDT was interfering with their metabolism and resulting in limited reproduction and declining populations. Members of the National Wildlife Federation conceived of a plan to obtain corporate sponsorship to help bald eagles. Funds were raised, and an area of private land below Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River was identified as critical habitat for hundreds of wintering bald eagles. One thousand acres of this land was purchased outright. An easement was purchased on an additional 300 acres. In 1974, the 300 acres were donated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This land is managed as Karl E. Mundt NWR. Mr. Mundt was a U.S. Senator from South Dakota who worked on an early version of the Endangered Species Act.

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