Case Study: Carlos Avery WMA
|A prescribed burn at Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area.
At 25,000 acres, the Carlos Avery wildlife management area is one of the largest in the state. Located within about 45 minutes of Minneapolis and St. Paul, it's also one of the busiest.
With reduced resources brought on by a decade without a license fee increase, area manager Dan Rhode worries whether he'll be able to keep up with the demands.
Staff shortages already have led to reduced maintenance of parking lots, roads and signs. Water control structures, critical to maintaining good waterfowl habitat, can't be checked as often as is necessary to maintain optimum conditions.
Limited staff time has cut into the amount of food plots that can be planted. Less time can be dedicated to weekend enforcement.
"When you look at its size and its location, this unit is a real treasure," Rhode says. "But without adequate resources, we just can take care of it the way it should be."
The bottom line?
Tight budgets and reduced staff due to license fees remaining static for 11 years mean cutbacks to important management activities in the busy Carlos Avery WMA.
What We Do: Highlights
Less than 30 miles north of the Twin Cities in Anoka and Chisago counties, the 25,000-acre Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area receives extensive year-round use for hunting, trapping, hiking and wildlife watching.
- Maintain 56 public use facilities (gates, parking lots and water accesses).
- Maintain 28 miles of access roads (grade, mow and plow).
- Actively manage water levels in 23 pools to provide quality waterfowl habitat (11,700 acres, 28 structures, 6 structures replaced in 2010).
- Maintain 110 miles of boundary and more than 100 informational signs.
- Monitor and maintain 95 waterfowl nesting structures annually.
- Plan and set up timber sales for habitat improvement (2010: 10 stands, 115 acres).
- Plant wildlife food plots (2010: 50 acres corn, 70 acres rye).
- Write plans for and conduct prescribed burns (2010: 6 plans written or updated, 2 burns completed, 138 acres).
- Help plan and coordinate 3 special hunts (disabled deer hunt, disabled duck hunt and controlled hunt zone duck hunt).
- Carry out noxious weed control efforts (65 acres various species).
- Conduct furbearer registration (40-50 trappers, 120-150 furs annually).
- Issue special use permits for activities that require them (80-100 special use permits issued annually for coon hunting, trapping, predator calling, research etc.).
- Review, recommend and prioritize land acquisitions (2009: reviewed 7, recommended 3, 1 acquired).
- Coordinate with and make recommendations to local units of government regarding land acquisitions and/or ordinances (2 counties, 4 cities, 3 townships).
- Respond to more than 1,000 phone calls per year from the public covering a wide variety of topics.
- Routinely patrol and enforce WMA rules throughout the year utilizing the Limited Law Enforcement Authority provided in statute to major unit staff.