Wildlife Management

Habitat Management

Habitat restoration and management preserves natural upland or wetland ecosystems and the plants and animals that thrive there. It typically involves permanent, perennial grass/shrub/tree plantings suitable for desired wildlife. Long-term management is needed to maintain the desired habitat and keep out invasive species. Common elements of habitat restoration in Minnesota include wildlife travel corridors, wildlife habitat buffers, wildlife food plots, wildlife brush piles, bird nesting structures and forest openings.


Wildlife habitat corridors connect isolated patches of habitat. They can be man-made ribbons of habitat or formed around natural features such as streams. Trees/shrubs with a high density of stems are ideal for wildlife corridors. Corridors must be wide enough to provide cover for larger wildlife and allow them to move freely. Riparian buffers and filter strips being established for water quality purposes can be designed to double as wildlife corridors.


restored grassland
Restored grassland
food plot
Wildlife food plot


Wildlife food plots are small tracts of crops left unharvested to provide food and cover for a variety of wildlife. They are particularly important as a dependable source of winter food. Many conservation programs encourage wildlife food plots although food plot acreage is usually ineligible for cost share or rental payments.


Wildlife brush piles provide shelter for small mammals such as red fox woodchucks, weasels, skunks and chipmunks as well as garter snakes, salamanders and more, including numerous bird species. Good sites for wildlife brush piles are along forest roads and edges, in woodland openings, at field edges and corners, and beside streams and wetlands.


Controlled burning is the intentional periodic use of fire to manage perennial vegetation. It is one of several types of disturbance (such as mowing, clipping or grazing grassland) that invigorate plant roots, improving the health of the stand as new vegetation emerges. Trained professionals burn specific areas of vegetation to meet various management goals such as maintaining a desired ecosystem, controlling invasive species and improving wildlife habitat.


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Wetland Restoration re-establishes or repairs the hydrology, plant communities and soils of a former or degraded wetland that has been drained, farmed or otherwise modified since European settlement. The goal is to closely approximate the original wetland’s natural hydrologic regime and vegetation, resulting in multiple environmental benefits.


Restoring wetland hydrology typically involves breaking drainage tile lines, building a dike or embankment to retain water and/or installing adjustable outlets to regulate water levels. Restored wetland plants usually include a mix of native water-loving grasses, sedges, rushes and forbs (broad-leaved flowering plants) in the basin or ponded area and a mix of native grasses and forbs in upland buffers around the basin.


Restored prairie pothole wetlands provide breeding grounds for ducks, geese and other migratory waterfowl whose habitat has been greatly reduced.


wetland restoration
Wetland Restoration
constructed wetland
Constructed Wetland


Constructed wetlands, sometimes called treatment wetlands, are man-made systems engineered to approximate the water-cleansing process of natural wetlands. In agriculture, constructed wetlands are used to filter runoff from cropland, feedlots, aquaculture operations and agricultural-processing facilities. Constructed wetlands can also provide habitat for some waterfowl, other birds, amphibians and invertebrates.


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