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Wetland Management District

male blue-winged teal standing in water with cattails behind
43875 230th Street
Morris, MN   56267
E-mail: morris@fws.gov
Phone Number: 320-589-1001
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The Morris Wetland Management District protects habitat for nesting waterfowl, such as blue-winged teal.
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Morris Wetland Management District

The Morris Wetland Management District includes 244 waterfowl production areas, encompassing over 50,000 acres scattered throughout an eight-county area. Like other wetland management districts in the prairie states, the goal of the Morris District is to restore and protect sufficient wetland and grassland habitat to meet the needs of prairie wildlife, particularly breeding waterfowl, as well as provide places for public recreation.

The Morris District covers Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Pope, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, and Yellow Medicine counties in western Minnesota. The district purchases land from willing sellers, manages scattered waterfowl production areas, and works with private landowners interested in improving their land for wildlife. The district also protects land through purchase of permanent conservation easements from willing landowners to protect wetlands and grasslands throughout the district.

Getting There . . .
The office is located four miles east of Morris on County Road 10. The office serves as an adminsitrative headquarters for management in all eight counties. The headquarters area offers enhanced public use opportunities such as a hiking trail and interpretive exhibits.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Waterfowl production areas provide habitat for an array of prairie species, especially grassland- and wetland- dependent species.

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Before settlement, this was a vast expanse of tallgrass prairie, interspersed with thousands upon thousands of prairie pothole wetlands. Since settlement in the late 1800s, 90% of the original wetlands have been drained, and all but 1% of the original prairie has been destroyed.

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Management Activities
The primary objective of the district is to acquire, develop, and manage habitat for waterfowl production. We restore former cropland to native grassland species to benefit breeding ducks and other wildlife. In an average year, the district seeds 300 acres of tilled land back to native grassland species and restores 40 drained wetlands.

We restore wetlands by blocking off drainage ditches and removing underground drainage tile. Restoring these wetlands provides habitat for wildlife and also helps prevent downstream flooding. Of course, wetlands also provide outstanding sites for public recreation, such as hunting and wildlife photography.

Once the habitat restoration is complete, we manage the grasslands using controlled burning and limited haying and grazing. Most wetlands function naturally, following the ancient prairie cycles of drought followed by flooding. However, the district uses water control structures to manipulate water levels on certain key wetlands.