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Wetland Management District

wetland with cattails surrounded by rolling grassland with yellow flowers
W10040 Cascade Mountain Road
Portage, WI   53901
E-mail: leopold@fws.gov
Phone Number: 608-742-7100
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Waterfowl production areas provide habitat for nesting waterfowl and other wildlife.
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Leopold Wetland Management District

The Leopold Wetland Management District is named after Aldo Leopold, who is widely acknowledged as the father of wildlife conservation in America. Leopold is perhaps best known as the author of A Sand County Almanac, a book compiled of essays written on his farm in central Wisconsin. In tribute to his philosophy, the Leopold Wetland Management District is dedicated to preserving, restoring, and enhancing wildlife habitat in Wisconsin for the benefit of present and future generations.

The district, established in 1993, manages over 12,000 acres of waterfowl production areas (WPAs) in 17 southeastern Wisconsin counties, covering some of the most important waterfowl areas of Wisconsin. The district also administers 45 conservation easements, totaling 3,000 acres, in 34 eastern Wisconsin counties. WPAs consist of wetland habitat surrounded by grassland and woodland communities. While WPAs are managed primarily for ducks and geese, they also provide habitat for a variety of other wildlife species such as non-game grassland birds, shorebirds, wading birds, mink, muskrat, wild turkey, and deer.

Getting There . . .
The district office is located just south of the city of Portage, Wisconsin, near the junction of I-39 and I-90/94. From Portage, take Highway #33 west for two miles to the junction of Cascade Mountain Road. Proceed south on Cascade Mountain Road for two miles to the district office.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The district manages over 12,000 acres of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs), 3,000 acres of conservation easements, and a Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program on private lands.

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The Leopold Wetland Management District was established in 1993 to preserve, restore, and manage habitats important to a diversity of fish and wildlife species.

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Management Activities
Habitat management consists of protecting, restoring, and enhancing wildlife habitat to provide a diverse complex of grasslands and wetlands. This is accomplished through the application of several management tools, such as: wetland and grassland restoration, controlled burning, and pest plant control. Previously drained wetland areas are restored by plugging ditches, removing drainage tile lines, constructing berms, and in some cases, installing water control structures to allow for water level management. Wetlands are managed to provide breeding, brood rearing, and migration habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Additionally wetlands are maintained to provide optimum habitat conditions for threatened and endangered plants and animals, such as the Eastern prairie fringed orchid and Blandings turtle.

Former croplands are planted to a mix of warm season grasses and wildflowers or "forbs" that meet the habitat requirements of nesting waterfowl, such as mallards and blue-wing teal, as well as other non-game bird species that need grasslands, such as the bobolink, dickcissel, upland sandpiper, and northern harrier. Grasslands are maintained primarily through the use of prescribed fire and mowing or chemical treatment of pest plants.

District staff work with other Federal agencies, as well as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, county land conservation departments, and private conservation organizations, through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. The program provides incentives forlandowners to enhance wildlife habitat on their property by restoring wetlands and native prairie, creating grassland buffer strips, and improving streambanks.