Fergus Falls Wetland Management District

Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota.


Welcome to the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District, where we care for almost 50,000 acres of wildlife habitat scattered across five counties in western Minnesota. 

Situated on the eastern edge of North America's prairie pothole landscape, also known as the duck factory, we strive to preserve, restore, and manage wetlands and prairies for nesting waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans).  You can enjoy many types of outdoor recreation here through the seasons while you observe wildlife, like bird watching, hiking, nature photography, snowshoeing, and hunting.  The best place for most visitors to start their adventure is at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center.  

From district lands, witness some of the highest densities of breeding waterfowl in Minnesota. Freshwater prairie wetlands and the associated northern tallgrass prairie join to form a zone of transition with the eastern hardwood forest. This blend of habitats supports an impressive diversity of more than 293 bird species.  Established in 1962, the district is home to 223 management units called waterfowl production areas, most of which are open to the public.

The district is also home to the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, the only residential environmental education facility of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and to the internationally recognized Prairie Science Class partnership with Fergus Falls Public Schools. Located on Townsend Waterfowl Production Area, the center provides environmental education, interpretation and outdoor recreation opportunities for many regional schools as well and walk-in visitors.

On a larger geographic scale, the district is situated on the eastern edge of North America’s Prairie Pothole Region, also known as the duck factory. About 118 million acres in size, this landscape produces more than 50% of the continent’s waterfowl due to its matrix of having the historically highest density of wetlands and associated upland prairie. Wetlands of varying sizes and depths skirted by short, mixed and tallgrass prairies are places unlike any other. They still provide nesting habitat for a rich variety of dabbling and diving ducks despite a massive conversion of the grassland biome to agriculture. Here, trumpeter swans glide gracefully across the water as their haunting calls echo under an expansive sky and the earthy smell of wetland reeds and clean water drift through the air.

Our objectives include developing and managing habitat for waterfowl production, including habitat for native plants and animals, especially prairie songbirds. Staff also assist private landowners with restoration of wetlands and grasslands.

Nearby Activities


To Visit the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District Headquarters

Take Interstate 94 to Otter Tail County Road 82 (Exit 61) and travel north two and a half miles to the headquarters.

Additional Information

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