Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

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DNR asks for public comments to help shape management of Whitewater WMA

Prescribed Burn Wildlife Whitewater Wma
A prescribed burn is conducted at the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area in southeastern Minnesota. The Minnesota DNR is seeking comments from the public on a revised master plan that will help shape management decisions on the popular 28,000-acre WMA in the coming years. (Photo from the Minnesota DNR)

The public is invited to comment on a draft update of the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area’s master plan that will guide management decisions on the popular hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching area in southeastern Minnesota.

The updated master plan includes management goals, objectives and strategies for the WMA throughout the next 10 years.

The master plan update is available for review on the DNR website.

“Public input is important as we update this plan,” Whitewater WMA supervisor Jaime Edwards said in a release on Dec. 2. “We want this update to reflect current public values and attitudes about how the land should be managed into the future.” 

The nearly 28,000-acre Whitewater WMA hosts an estimated 500,000 visitors annually. It is a popular wild turkey hunting destination in the spring, along with being a popular location for deer and small-game hunters in the fall. 

The previous master plan at Whitewater was prepared in 1977. Since then, the DNR notes that many environmental and social changes have occurred, requiring a revised plan to address these changes in conditions.

Public use at the WMA has changed with a larger Minnesota population since the last update. Invasive species and climate change present new management challenges, and more native plant communities need to be restored and enhanced.

Specific areas of concern identified by WMA users and resource professionals include:

  • The spread of invasive species.
  • Excessive littering.
  • Lower than desired abundance of game species.
  • A desire for improved habitat quality.
  • Protection of rare plants and animals.
  • Continuation of private farming within the WMA.
  • Too many people using the WMA.

Get to know the master plan

The following events have been scheduled to help the public become familiar with the master plan:

  • Whitewater WMA staff will present an overview of the plan and answer questions during a webinar from 6-7 p.m. on Dec. 15. Registration is not required. A link to join the webinar is available on the Whitewater WMA page of the DNR website.
  • Whitewater WMA staff will explain the plan and its purpose, answer questions and collect input during an in-person open house from 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2023 in the main auditorium at the Whitewater State Park office, located at 19041 Highway 74 near Altura. Registration is not required.
  • Whitewater WMA staff will explain the plan and its purpose, answer questions and collect input during a webinar from 6-8 p.m. on Jan. 5, 2023. Registration is not required. A link to join the webinar is available on the Whitewater WMA page of the DNR website.

Comment opportunities

Comments on the master plan can be made through Jan. 9 by:

  • Completing the online form on the Engage with DNR website. A link to the draft plan and form is available on the Whitewater WMA page of the DNR website.
  • Giving comments at the Jan. 4 open house or Jan. 5 webinar.
  • Sending comments via email to whitewater.wildlife@state.mn.us 
  • Sending written comments via postal mail to: Whitewater WMA Master Plan, Fish and Wildlife Division, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155.
  • Delivering written comments in person to the Whitewater WMA office near Altura.

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