Watson, MN 56295
Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in Big Stone, Lac Qui Parle and Swift counties benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Appleton area wildlife staff.
Area Wildlife Supervisor Curt Vacek along with one full-time staff oversee a work area totaling 1.2 million acres of public and private land. This work area includes 81 state Wildlife Management Areas totaling more than 21,000 acres, a waterfowl refuge, a state wildlife sanctuary and a migratory waterfowl feeding and resting area.
- What we do
- Harvesting close to 2,000 pounds of native prairie seed each fall that is used to restore or enhance our native grassland landscape.
- Developing new woody cover plantings encompassing 5 to 10 acres and enhancing existing riparian corridors and winter habitats used by many resident species including deer, turkey, pheasants and song birds.
- Maintaining 34 cooperative farming agreements on 733 cropland acres on WMAs, providing winter wildlife food and fall public hunting opportunities.
- Initiating intensive shallow lake management to enhance water quality and wildlife habitat on WMAs and designated wildlife lakes. During drawdowns, these basins are major attractants to thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl.
- Annually band 400 Canada geese and conduct population surveys on waterfowl, pheasant, prairie grouse, deer and predators throughout the work area.
- When fully staffed, we take full advantage of Outdoor Heritage Funds appropriated to partnering conservation groups for WMA habitat management. Example projects include Nature Conservancy oversight and funding to conduct buckthorn removal on Persen WMA using a private goat herd, Nature Conservancy funded construction of a permanent perimeter fence around Victory and Prairie WMAs allowing for conservation grazing in this important prairie complex, funding for several contracted woody invasives removal, annual prescribed burning and prairie restorations on WMAs, and water control structure installation and operation on Lake 14 and Cory Lake with primary partnership from Ducks Unlimited.