In the Works...

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Aitkin County, Minnesota

On 18,208-acre Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northern Minnesota, managers have identified ten 20-acre management units on which the habitat will be improved for woodcock and other young-forest wildlife. The areas include mature timber, mainly aspen, that is ready for commercial harvest. Timber bids have been completed for three of the units, which should be cut soon. Additional cuts will be made at 10-year intervals until all ten management units are in a 30-year harvest cycle rotation. Cutting blocks follow identifiable forest stands and will have irregular shapes; managers will leave up to five trees per acre as singing perches for golden-winged warblers. Nearby old fields will be burned or cut back periodically to keep them functioning as woodcock singing grounds and roost areas. Partners: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife Management Institute.

Fritsche Creek Wildlife Management Area, Brown County, Minnesota

This southcentral Minnesota project is a collaborative effort between state and federal agencies and two nonprofit conservation organizations, Woodcock Minnesota and The Nature Conservancy. It will protect and renew 50 acres of early successional habitat while testing the ability of biomass markets to subsidize future public and private land-management costs. The project will help preserve a mosaic of different habitats in the floodplain of the Minnesota River and will benefit game and nongame species including American woodcock, ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, blue-winged warbler, willow flycatcher, and field sparrow. Maintaining this dense, brushy cover will also reduce overland water flow to the river and improve groundwater infiltration. A grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund supports the work. Partners: Woodcock Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Wildlife Management Institute.

Four Brooks Wildlife Management Area, Mille Lacs County, Minnesota

Four Brooks WMA is a 3,600-acre tract in central Minnesota. When acquired by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 2001, much of the land had been heavily cut-over. As the timber has matured, it has grown largely beyond the stage preferred by American woodcock, golden-winged warblers, and other young-forest wildlife. Over the next 30 years the Department of Natural Resources will cut 1,200 acres in 10- to 20-acre blocks of primarily aspen woodland. The combination of regenerating aspen, older forest stands, wetlands, and grassy openings maintained on the WMA and on adjacent private lands will make Four Brooks WMA more productive for woodcock and a wide range of other wildlife. Partners: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Management Institute.