Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in Clay, Wilkin and Otter Tail counties benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Fergus Falls area wildlife staff.
Area Supervisor Mike Oehler, two full-time staff and two seasonal laborers oversee an area that includes 2.6 million acres of public and private land. This includes 64 state Wildlife Management Areas totaling 29,827 acres. The staff is also responsible for two waterfowl refuges, four state duck refuges, two designated waterfowl feeding and resting areas, two wildlife sanctuaries and four state game refuges.
This work area features prairies on the west and south and forests on the north and east. It includes a diverse habitat base of grasslands, wetlands, lakes and forests that are intermixed with agricultural land.
- Our work
- Managed water levels on two designated wildlife management lakes totaling 974 acres to improve waterfowl habitat
- Partnered with Ducks Unlimited to manage wild rice on 11 lakes on Otter Tail County
- Managed water levels on a 120 acre moist soil unit at Manston WMA to enhance waterfowl and shorebird migration habitat
- Worked with partners to acquire key parcels of land to be included in the WMA system including purchasing 442 additional WMA acres in 2018
- Enhanced or created 7 shallow wetlands on the Doran WMA
- Planted 130 acres of native grasses and flowers on 6 WMAs and harvested 3500 lbs of prairie seed for future prairie restoration projects
- Enhanced 300 acres of grasslands by removing invasive woody species and enhanced an additional 160 acres of grasslands using conservation grazing
- Monitored, maintained or improved 114 user facilities (parking lots, gates, trails, etc.); maintained 6 miles of access road; and monitoring 287 miles of WMA boundary
- Responded to numerous nuisance wildlife cases, including bear, deer, turkey and goose crop depredations and offered technical assistance and abatement materials to control depredation
- Completed controlled grassland burns on more than 1,200 acres on 9 WMAs and assisted on another eight burns on other public and private lands under easement
- Sprayed 115 acres of invasive cattails on 3 wetlands to enhance the basins for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife
- Completed census and survey work for pheasants, deer, prairie chickens, predators and ruffed grouse and assisted in collecting samples from hunter harvested deer in CWD monitoring areas