Habitat project nearing completion in the Chain-O-Sloughs Wildlife Management Area
Work will end this fall on a habitat restoration project in the Chain-O-Sloughs Wildlife Management Area (WMA), south of Ivanhoe in Lincoln County.
Contractors remove unwanted trees and brush from a 40-acre area of the WMA. These trees and brush will be cut, stumped, stacked and burnt once there is three inches of snow cover. Unwanted trees include the non-native Russian olive tree as well as the native plum and cedar that have encroached on the grasslands.
Strategic tree felling is part of a management plan from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources designed to maintain balance with the surrounding grassland ecosystem. The project will provide better nesting and brood rearing habitat for prairie-nesting pheasants and waterfowl, as well as 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 MNR Wildlife staff.
“It is important to note that the dense cedar stands and shrub plantations that provide valuable winter cover for wildlife will remain on the unit,” said Amber Knutson, assistant manager of wildlife for the Marshall region. “We are targeting scattered trees that degrade the habitat of grassland species. “
Habitat improvements will provide a better experience for hunters, hikers and bird watchers.
The project is a partnership with Forever Pheasants and its Public Land Improvement 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%. The fund receives one-third of sales tax dollars and can only be spent to restore, protect and enhance wetlands, grasslands, forests, and game fish and wildlife habitat.
The WMAs are open to the public year round and provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing. For more information, visit the MNR website.