Erica Hoaglund - Nongame Wildlife Specialist
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 651-296-6157 or 888-MINNDNR (646-6367)
Email: [email protected]
The Central Region is home to more than half of Minnesota’s population. It includes twenty-three counties and the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
The northern reaches of this region host some true natural resource gems. From Mille Lacs Lake and Wildlife Management Area, to the forests of Camp Ripley and globally rare and unique sand prairie and oak savanna habitats of the Anoka Sand Plain, there are many wilderness areas to explore. While much of the metro area has been developed into a urban or suburban human habitat, it still has an estimated 50,000 acres of wildlife habitat to explore and experience. Some of the best places to connect with our nongame wildlife heritage in Central region are the many Scientific and Natural Areas, State Parks, Wildlife Management Areas and city and regional parks. You will be able to find examples of most habitat landscapes in one of these protected and managed green spaces.
The southeastern counties of the region are a rolling mosaic of farmlands, bluff prairies, oak savannas, and hardwood forests. This area of the state is known as the Driftless Region, and is unique in the state due to its geological history. The Root, Whitewater, Zumbro, and Cannon River watersheds encompass the area, which escaped the last glaciation. The eastern most edge of the region falls along the Mississippi River Flyway, making it an important migratory corridor for at least 325 different species of birds and a great place go birding.
Large concentrations of tundra swans migrate through the region in the fall. Other bird species in the region include red-headed woodpeckers, loggerhead shrikes, peregrine falcons, bald eagles and trumpeter swans. The metro area hosts rare mice, unique beetles, and remains home to the rusty-patched bumble bee. Amphibians and reptiles like Blanchard’s cricket frogs, wood turtles, Blanding’s turtle, timber rattlesnakes, and gopher snakes are also present in the region.
Nongame staff focuses on helping urban areas protect and understand their wildlife resources, connecting Minnesota’s diverse citizens and visitors with the outdoors, study and monitor the region’s rare species, and protecting our wildlife heritage for generations to come. This area is also where our EagleCam and FalconCam are located!
Staff also monitors several state-listed species, like the timber rattlesnake, Blanding’s turtle, wood turtle, and Leonard’s skippers. On both public and private land, habitat management is a component of the Nongame Program’s work. Activities such as prescribed fire, grazing, invasives control and cedar/brush removal help maintain or enhance bluff prairie, oak savanna and oak woodland habitat for Species in Greatest Conservation Need. Staff have also completed projects with peregrine falcons and trumpeter swans.
Projects in the Central Region
- MN Cricket Frog Community Science Survey
- Red-shouldered Hawk Project
- Four-toed Salamander Project
- Hognose Snake and Bullsnake Monitoring
- Leonard’s Skipper Monitoring
- Timber Rattlesnake Survey
- Wood Turtle Survey
- Blanding’s Turtle Survey
- Anoka Sand Plain Hognose and Bullsnake Survey
- Plains Pocket Mouse Trapping Survey
- Sand Dunes Vegetation Survey
- Anoka Sand Plain Shrike Survey
- Anoka Sand Plain Species of Greatest Conservation Need Bird Survey
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