Work will wrap up this fall on a habitat restoration project at Chain-O-Sloughs Wildlife Management Area (WMA), south of Ivanhoe in Lincoln County.
Contractors are removing undesirable trees and brush from a 40-acre area of the WMA. Those trees and brush will be cut, stump treated, piled and burned once there is three inches of snow cover. The undesirable trees include non-native Russian olive along with native plum and cedar that have encroached on grasslands.
The strategic tree removal is part of a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources management plan designed to maintain balance with the surrounding prairie ecosystem. The project will provide improved nesting and brood rearing habitat for pheasants and grassland nesting waterfowl, and other grassland-dependent species. It will also benefit pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Each WMA is managed according to an individual plan developed by DNR wildlife staff.
“It’s important to note that the dense cedar stands and shrub plantings that provide valuable winter cover for wildlife will remain on the unit,” said Amber Knutson, Marshall area assistant wildlife manager. “We’re targeting the scattered trees that degrade habitat for grassland species.”
The habitat improvements will provide a better experience for hunters, hikers and bird watchers.
The project is a partnership with Pheasants Forever and its Enhanced Public Lands Program and the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
The Outdoor Heritage Fund was created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008, which increased sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent. The fund receives one-third of the sales tax dollars and may only be spent to restore, protect and enhance wetlands, prairies, forest and habitat for game fish and wildlife.
WMAs are open to the public year-round and provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife watching activities. For more information, visit the DNR website.