Watson, MN 56295
320-734-4451, Ext. 227
Hunters, trappers and wildlife watchers in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Swift county benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area staff.
Wildlife Area Supervisor Walt Gessler along with two full-time staff and five part-time seasonal staff oversee a work area totaling 33,000 acres. This acreage includes a state game refuge, a wildlife sanctuary, a waterfowl feeding and resting area, a duck sanctuary and a controlled hunting zone.
This area includes the 24,300-acre Lac qui Parle WMA – the largest contiguous block of public land in west-central Minnesota and an incredibly popular destination for hunters, bird and wildlife watchers and others.
- Our work
- Provide support to four area wildlife offices in nine surrounding counties to complete habitat projects and assist with facility installation and maintenance.
- Planning controlled grassland-wetland burns on thousands of acres to improve nesting habitat for waterfowl, pheasants and other grassland birds and to reduce exotic grasses and brush/tree encroachment and enhance habitat for deer.
- Removing invasive trees from prairies and grasslands to maintain and enhance habitat for waterfowl and pheasants.
- Monitoring and implementing water level management on 14 wetland impoundments and conducting intensive moist soil management on 75 acres. Wetlands are intensively managed to provide food-rich habitats for migratory waterfowl.
- Planning, administering and monitoring 170 cooperative farm agreements and public food plots for 4,022 acres of grassland haying, cattle grazing and cropland. Haying and grazing rejuvenate native grasses and wildflowers providing improved grassland nesting, brood rearing and grazing areas for deer. Cropland provides both wildlife food and public hunting opportunity in more remote sections of the wildlife area for geese, deer, pheasants, doves and turkeys.
- Maintaining partnerships with several local conservation organizations, including Pheasants Forever, The Nature Conservancy and The Army Corps of Engineers – including a significant enhancement project aimed at restoring historical wildlife and ecological benefits of Marsh Lake.