Strategic conservation efforts designed to foster stewardship of pheasants, ducks and their habitats are outlined in new Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) action plans for these popular birds.

“The DNR strives to be a forward-thinking leader for pheasant and duck management in Minnesota,” said Sarah Strommen, DNR commissioner. “The issues facing ducks and pheasants are serious. They include the amount and quality of habitat and the impacts of a changing climate. These plans help clarify and focus our work to better address these issues.”

The action plans were developed during the last 10 months with the help of conservation and tribal partners as well as the public and technical experts. Each plan is designed to better define what DNR will do and how it will work with partners. Each outlines short-term actions that can help fulfill long-term conservation goals.

While species and habitat management plans often cover time periods of 10 or more years, the new action plans focus efforts over four years. That allows the DNR and its conservation partners to more immediately assess and adjust activities to meet long-term goals that are affected by changing conditions.

“A key part of DNR’s work outlined in these short-term plans will be collaboration with our conservation partners,” said Mike Larson, interim DNR wildlife section manager. “Helping support our partners’ work, especially their work with private landowners, is critically important.”

Strategies outlined in the plans include:

• Maintaining land acquisitions for wildlife management areas, primarily in western and southern Minnesota and increasing the proportion of those acquisitions in priority areas identified for pheasants and ducks.

• Increasing the quality and quantity of habitat improvements and enhancements on state lands for pheasants and ducks.

• Supporting the work of conservation partners to protect and enhance habitat on private and federal lands.

• Increasing coordination of actions under the plans with related activities of conservation partners in Minnesota.

• Supporting priority management actions within the Mississippi Flyway for ducks.

• Improving access to land for outdoor recreation and habitat appreciation.

• Defining research and monitoring priorities and working with partners to address those priorities.

“These action plans for pheasants and ducks complement other conservation plans already in place,” Larson said. “Our intent is to better define and track our work to conserve and create more habitat, increase recreational opportunities and increase public awareness and appreciation of habitat conservation.”

More information about DNR habitat work, activities and accomplishments related to the action plans, as well as the plans themselves, are available on the DNR Web site, which can be found at

– Photo courtesy of the DNR