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 countiesand 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 the intact prairies of Stearns County, there are many wilderness areas to explore. While much of the metro area has been developed into a suburban area, it still has an estimated 50,000 acres of wildlife habitat including intact oak savanna, prairie, oak and maple forests. With its big rivers, numerous public parks, preserves, lakes and streams, the Twin Cities Metro area remains a great place to get outdoors and experience some of our unique wildlife neighbors.
The southeastern counties of the region are a rolling mosaic of farmlands, bluff prairies, oak savannas, hardwood forests, and include the Driftless Region. 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, sandhill cranes, bald eagles andtrumpeter swans. The metro area hosts rare mice, unique beetles, and remains home to the rusty-patched bumble bee. Amphibians and reptiles like cricket frogs, wood turtles, Blanding’s turtle, timber rattlesnakes, and gophersnakes are also present in the region.
In the northern portion of the region, staff focus on helping urban areas protect and understand their wildlife resources, connecting Minnesota’s diverse citizens and visitors with the outdoors, studying and monitoring the region’s rare species, and protecting our wildlife heritage for generations to come. This area is also where our EagleCam and FalconCams are located!
In southern portion of the region, staff are monitoring 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 remains a major component of the Nongame Program’s work in the southeast. 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.