Byholt Marsh Expansion Exemplifies the Power of Longstanding Partnerships

Pheasants Forever and its partners are proud to highlight an addition to the Byholt Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Chippewa County, Minn. Providing critical wildlife habitat and public access in the state's pheasant range, the permanent protection project was made possible by the contributions of 20 partners, including nine local chapters of Pheasants Forever.
Byholt Marsh WMA was first formed in 2004 when Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited joined up with numerous local partners to purchase 68 acres of habitat just north of Montevideo, Minn., in western Chippewa County. Later that year, the property was expanded for the first time with the purchase of 40 additional acres in partnership with the Boike family.
The second expansion to Byholt Marsh WMA came nearly a decade later in 2012 with the acquisition of another 27 acres, bringing the total acreage up to 135. Bolstered yet again by Pheasants Forever and its partners, Byholt Marsh has more than doubled in size to 280 acres.
The property consists mostly of low-lying wetlands, with upland habitat dotting the higher ground. The original intent of the purchase was to protect the wetland basin, restore adjacent uplands to buffer that basin and provide nesting habitat for both pheasants and waterfowl, which use the site for both brood rearing and spring and fall migration.
In the 18 years since its creation, Byholt Marsh WMA has stood as a shining example of Pheasants Forever’s “Build a Wildlife Area” program, Ducks Unlimited “Living Lakes” initiative and the strength of longstanding local partnerships.
“I learned early in my career about the power of partnerships,” said Brad Olson, a retired DNR Assistant Area Manager and Chippewa County Pheasants Forever volunteer who’s worked closely with the project since its inception. “These partnerships allowed even small organizations to be closely involved with amazing habitat improvements, and it’s so rewarding to see those partnership projects blossom into meaningful complexes like Byholt Marsh that provide perpetual wildlife habitat and public access.”
Sabin Adams, the Minnesota project manager for Pheasants Forever who also worked closely with these acquisitions, said the lasting impact of properties like Byholt Marsh cannot be understated.
“As a sportsmen and public land user, I’d like to thank Brad and everyone else who had the foresight to see what this property could become,” he said. “What a great legacy he and others have helped create at Byholt Marsh — generations will enjoy this property thanks to their hard work.”
In addition to Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited, Byholt Marsh WMA was made possible through partnerships with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Reinvest in Minnesota Critical Habitat Program, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Outdoor Heritage Fund, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the Devries, Boike and Anderson families and the following local Pheasants Forever chapters.  
  • Chippewa County, Kandiyohi County, East Medicine, Itasca County, Anoka County, Goodhue County, Nicollet County, Dakota Ringnecks and Chisago County
Byholt Marsh WMA is a permanent habitat protection project contributing to the goals of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Call of the Uplands® national campaign - a recently announced monumental initiative to save America’s uplands and cultivate the next generation of conservationists and hunters.
About Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community represents over 400,000 members, supporters and partners, all dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent more than $1 billion on 567,500 habitat projects benefiting 22 million acres.
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Casey Sill