Windom area wildlife
Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin and Watonwan counties benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Windom area wildlife staff.
Area Wildlife Supervisor Randy Markl along with two full-time staff oversees a work area totaling 1.6 million acres of public and private land. The area includes 88 state Wildlife Management Areas totaling more than 16,000 acres; three state game refuges; a state duck refuge; and three duck sanctuaries.
The area is known for a wide array of species including pheasant, deer, waterfowl, doves, wild turkey and furbearers.
At work for you
Wetland restoration on the Banks State WMA in Cottonwood County.
- Assessing more than 20 potential WMA additions in the last year and adding about 1,500 acres to local WMAs over the last three years.
- Managing more than 50 water control structures that manage levels on nearly 10,000 acres of wetlands, shallow lakes and moist soil units. Water level management enhances wetland wildlife habitat and increasing duck production and migrational use.
- Restoring wetlands via tile breaks, tile installation, agri-drain water control structure installations, sediment removal and berm/dike construction. Recent projects cinclude tile breaks on Oxbow, Toe and Perch Creek WMAs; installing tile intakes on Timber Lake Moist Soil Unit; constructing 200 feet of dike for wetland restoration on Perch Creek WMA; and 1,500 feet of dike re-build on West Heron WMA.
- Seeding approximately 250 acres annually of native prairie grasses and flowers on new wildlife management areas and harvesting about 4,000 lbs. of native grass and flower seed annually to plant on WMAs.
- During the past five years, averaging 26 prescribed grassland burns covering more than 1,100 acres each year to enhance grassland wildlife habitat by stimulating native prairie species and controlling encroaching woody vegetation.
- Managing 53 cooperative farming agreements covering 1,000 acres. These provide food plots for wildlife and hunting opportunities for a variety of wildlife, including geese and doves, utilizing small grain fields. Cover crops are increasing on these acres, with over 400 of the acres planted to cover crops in 2016, along with their parent corn or small grain crop.