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Wetland Management District

freshwater marsh at sunset
22274 615th Avenue
Litchfield, MN   55355
E-mail: litchfieldwetland@fws.gov
Phone Number: 320-693-2849
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The Litchfield Wetland Management District manages over 40,000 acres of marsh, prairie, transition, and woodland habitats.
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Litchfield Wetland Management District

Litchfield Wetland Management District is located on the eastern edge of the Prairie Pothole Region in central Minnesota. Here, just a little south of the famous mythological Lake Wobegone where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average," more than 33,000 acres of Service-owned land and 8,000 acres of wetland easements provide outstanding marsh, prairie, transition, and woodland habitats.

District lands are located on over 150 waterfowl production areas (WPAs) scattered throughout seven counties. These WPAs vary greatly in size and vegetation and provide habitat for numerous plant and animal species.

Getting There . . .
The office is located three miles south of Litchfield, Minnesota, on 615th Avenue.

If arriving from the north, east, or west, turn south on Highway 22 where it intersects with US Highway 12 in downtown Litchfield. Proceed south one and one-half miles to Lake Ripley Drive. Turn right. Bear left in 0.2 miles as Lake Ripley drive joins 615th Avenue. The district office is located 2.1 miles south on 615th Avenue and is marked with entrance signs.

If arriving from the South on Highway 22 turn left (west) onto Meeker County 28. Meeker County 28 is located 8.1 miles north of the intersection of MN Highway 7 and MN Highway 22. After turning west on Meeker County 28, proceed 0.9 miles to the intersection with 615th Avenue. Turn right unto 615th Avenue and travel north 0.8 miles to the Refuge entrance.

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Wildlife and Habitat

District lands include northern mixed forest, eastern hardwood forest, oak savanna, and northern tallgrass prairie habitats. Soils, precipitation, climate, water quality, and land use vary greatly, but essentially all areas have been significantly altered and degraded by the activities of humans.

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Eighty percent of the wetlands and ninety-nine percent of the prairie in the "prairie pothole" region of Minnesota have been destroyed.

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Management Activities
The primary management goal of the district is the acquisition and improvement of wetland and prairie habitats on public and private lands.

Since 1987, district staff have restored over 5,500 wetland basins totaling more than 18,000 acres. Approximately 3,800 of these wetlands were restored on private land through the Service's Partners for Wildlife program. Many of these wetlands are now permanently protected from draining, filling, or unauthorized burning through the purchase of Waterfowl Production Easements from the owners.

Most of the land acquired by the district had been farmed or heavily grazed for many years. These areas have been planted with over 20 species of grasses and wildflowers and managed with controlled burning to keep the vegetation vigorous and diverse. Occasionally, mowing, haying, grazing, biological controls (insect releases), or chemical treatments are also employed as management tools.

Waterfowl populations are surveyed through "four-square-mile waterfowl pair counts." Other migratory birds, including non-game species, are sampled through Breeding Bird Surveys and Point Counts. Information on the abundance and distribution of native plants, predators, marsh birds,and amphibians is also collected.