Collage of nongame wildlife program staff working with wildlife

For over 40 years, the Nongame Wildlife Program has worked to protect and preserve Minnesota’s wildlife. We’ve already successfully restored many wildlife populations, but our work isn’t done! There are still many species that need our help and our past efforts have shown that we can make a difference.

Current Projects

golden eagle

Our nongame wildlife staff at Camp Ripley are hard at work studying the migration and habitat use of golden eagles. We’re actively tracking three golden eagles and are providing aid to other organizations that are tracking golden eagle populations. All of this data will help us learn more about this species and understand how we can conserve and manage the population.



thirteen lined ground squirrel

For the past two field seasons, staff from the Minnesota Biological Survey and Nongame Regions 1 and 3 have been studying Richardson’s ground squirrels. We’ve been searching for new colony locations, visiting historic records, and testing protocols to monitor this species. Some colonies, like the one at Mentor Prairie WMA, are thriving, while others have disappeared. We’re going to continue our searches and refine our surveys in the upcoming field seasons.


wood turtleWood turtles are a threatened species in Minnesota. That’s why we’ve been conducting surveys,identifying threats, monitoring the population, and experimenting with conservation actions to help this important species. A Minnesota Wood Turtle Conservation Plan was developed by our Wood Turtle Planning Team and identifies priorities for wood turtle conservation over the next 10 years.



Statewide Projects


Regional Projects

map of DNR regions in Minnesota


Northwest Region staff are monitoring rare species such as the red-shouldered hawk, northern goshawk, Blanding’s turtle and Richardson’s ground squirrel. We are monitoring piping plover and common tern populations. We’re also involved in monitoring more common nongame species such as the common loon and trumpeter swan. Staff are conducting surveys for the endangered rusty-patched bumblebee and assisting with other pollinator survey efforts.


Staff in the Northeast Region are hard at work studying rare species like the northern goshawk, four-toed salamander, red-shouldered hawk and Blanding's turtle. We’re restoring habitat of threatened species like the common tern and wood turtle, as well as protecting their nests from predators. We are also monitoring common loons.


In the Central Region, staff are conducting surveys on many wildlife species, including timber rattlesnakes, cricket frogs, and wood turtles. We’re working to restore and maintain peregrine falcon and karner blue butterfly populations. This region is also where the eagle nest in our EagleCam is located!


Protecting and restoring prairie landscapes and its wildlife through diverse partnerships is vital to the South Region. Monitoring and adaptive management are part of our collective conservation efforts under the MN Wildlife Action Plan. For example, we’re monitoring grassland birds and pollinators (bumble bees and butterflies) to help assess effectiveness of prairie restorations in collaboration with land managers. We also survey for Richardson’s ground squirrels, Blanchard’s cricket frogs, lined snakes, and other Species in Greatest Conservation Need (SGCNs). We partnered with the Minnesota Biological Survey and others for the Minnesota River Reptile Project targeting gophersnakes (bullsnakes) and common five-lined skinks. We’ve completed field work and are translating our data into technical guidance for conservation. Our many years of experience with Blanding’s turtles and other SGCNs helps to maintain and restore their populations and the habitats they need to survive and thrive.