Migratory Waterfowl Feeding & Resting Areas

Canvasbacks ducks in flight

What is a Migratory Waterfowl Feeding and Resting Area?

Migratory Waterfowl Feeding and Resting Areas protect waterfowl from disturbance on selected waters of the state. Motors are prohibited on MWFRAs during the waterfowl season. (Electric motors of less than 30 pounds thrust are allowed on some areas.)

MWFRAs were first authorized by the state legislature in 1969 (M.S 97A.095 subd. 2)

How many MWFRAs are there?

As of 2011 there are 38 MWFRAs in 25 counties. The use of electric motors is allowed on 15 of the 38 lakes.

Until 1987, Minnesota state statute limited the number of MWFRAs to 13. At that time electric motors were allowed unless prohibited by the DNR. Since then, the number of MWFRAs has increased. The use of electric motors has proven to be controversial, and there have been public debates about the use of motors on MWFRA lakes.

How is a MWFRA established?

MWFRAs are nominated by a petition process (at least 10 local, resident, licensed hunters must sign) and approved or denied by the DNR after public input is received. Since establishment of MWFRAs is initiated by a petition process, the selection of areas has been based on local interest rather than biological need. The Division of Wildlife has generally not been proactive in identifying and establishing specific MWFRAs, allowing local conservation groups to take the lead in initiating these processes.

More information

For more specific information on individual MWFRAs please refer to the current hunting regulations. For more information on the MWFRA process or how to establish an MWFRA, contact your Area Wildlife Manager or the Shallow Lakes Program Leader.

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