Habitat & Conservation  |  01/02/2024

Pheasants Forever Helps Expand Public Access in Southern Minnesota


Waterfowl Production Area adds nearly 80 acres of high-quality habitat in Sibley County

Pheasants Forever is proud to announce a new Build a Wildlife Area® project in the organization’s home state of Minnesota. The Washington Lake Waterfowl Production Area now provides 77 acres of publicly accessible uplands, supporting a corridor of existing habitat projects in Sibley County.  

“Located less than two hours from the state’s largest population center, Washington Lake WPA is a strategic habitat project strengthening the public lands base in Minnesota’s pheasant country,” said Minnesota state coordinator Tanner Bruse. “The newly established grassland acres along with restored wetlands now provide ample opportunities for sportsman while boosting the rural economy in Sibley County, a win-win scenario for all of the partners involved.” 

Sitting on the eastern edge of Minnesota’s primary pheasant range, the property is directly adjacent to Mud Lake WPA, Redhead WPA and Revanche Wildlife Management Area. With this addition, the habitat corridor in the immediate area will grow to over 900 acres. This acquisition also establishes significant nesting habitat for upland birds, waterfowl, and other grassland-dependent wildlife. 

“We have a 70-acre diverse seeding that will be completed this winter along with several restored wetlands on the property via sediment scrapes,” said Ethan Boertje, a Pheasants Forever habitat restoration specialist. “This spring, the creation of early successional habitat will provide phenomenal cover and bug-rich areas for hen pheasants and their broods to thrive.” 

Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area program has permanently protected more than 229,000 acres of habitat in 16 states through this unique, partner-driven matching gift program. Through local, state, and federal grants and individual private donations, Build A Wildlife Area designates funds directly toward land acquisition projects to create public access, conserve critical habitat for wildlife, and preserve outdoor heritage traditions.

Additional partners in the project include the Outdoor Heritage Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Sibley County Chapter of Pheasants Forever.