Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota.
The Windom Wetland Management District acquires and manages waterfowl production areas, enforces wetland easements, and provides conservation assistance to landowners in 12 southwestern Minnesota counties. The landscape is dominated by intense, row-crop agriculture, which has led to the drainage of most wetlands and widespread water quality problems. Deteriorating drainage tile systems and the abundance of historic wetland basins provide unlimited opportunities for wetland restorations. Heron Lake was once known as the "Chesapeake Bay of the Midwest" because of its tremendous canvasback migrations. This 6,400-acre, shallow, prairie lake suffers from over-enrichment due to agricultural run-off; high populations of rough fish; and loss of aquatic vegetation; all symptoms typical to area lakes. Heron Lake is the focus of a multi-partner effort to restore the lake and its 474-square-mile watershed. The Service is an active partner in this effort. The ecosystem approach to management involves working closely with private landowners to restore degraded habitat. Between 1990 and 2001, the district restored 587 wetlands, covering 7,442 acres of both publicly and privately owned land in the twelve counties it manages. Hunters and wildlife enthusiasts can choose from nearly 12,300 acres on 61 different waterfowl production areas (WPAs) for recreational activities. The district also recently completed the construction of a new headquarters and interpretive center. This facility will allow the district to provide environmental education and interpretive opportunities for local schools and the general public.
The district headquarters is located one mile east of Windom, Minnesota, on County Road 17. Windom lies in the scenic Des Moines River valley of southwestern Minnesota, on Highway 71 a short 18 miles north of interstate 90. Maps to all the waterfowl production areas are available for each county in the district.