New Waterfowl Production Areas Conserve 530 Acres, Honor Conservation Legends

New Waterfowl Production Areas Conserve 530 Acres, Honor Conservation Legends

Land stewards Art Hawkins & Chuck Vukonich honored with land dedications in Minn.

Herman, Minn. – Sept. 16, 2015 – Pheasants Forever and local partners recently dedicated two Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA’s) near Herman, Minn., in honor of the late waterfowl conservation icon, Art Hawkins, and the recently retired conservationist, Chuck Vukonich. Conserving 530 acres of publicly accessible land in Minnesota, the wetland and upland habitat restored on both WPA’s are forever dedicated to their distinguished careers.

“It is indeed an honor for us to dedicate these properties in the name of two devoted and staunch conservationists,” stated Tony Rondeau, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and active member of the Otter Tail County Chapter of Pheasants Forever. Art Hawkins was a pioneer in waterfowl management and a legend within the migratory bird community. Additionally, one would be hard pressed to find anyone more committed to the protection and management of habitat than Chuck Vukonich. I consider both as mentors and an inspiration in our efforts toward habitat improvement and conservation awareness.”

Art Hawkins WPA – Dedicated to Art Hawkins (1913-2006) – long-time U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist who studied under Aldo Leopold, pioneered the Flyway Council System, and was director at the famed Delta Marsh Station in Canada – the 370-acre Art Hawkins WPA represents a distinguished career in the field of conservation. In retirement, Hawkins was a driving force in the formation of the Wood Duck Society and was inducted into the Minnesota Waterfowl Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

Spearheaded by the Otter Tail County Chapter of Pheasants Forever and other local partners, the Art Hawkins WPA is littered with potholes, large and small, and adds critical grasslands to a habitat complex that will be open to the public for hunting and other outdoor recreation. The Art Hawkins WPA is located in some of the best duck producing areas of Minnesota and is known to winter a significant number of pheasants. It is currently open for public hunting and is located approximately two and one-half miles east of Herman, Minn., on the south side of State Highway 27 in Grant County.

This WPA was made possible, in part, by contributions from Pheasants Forever’s Build A Wildlife Area Program in Minnesota. Since 2003, the Build a Wildlife Area program has helped create or expand state Wildlife Management Areas and federal Waterfowl Production Areas in Minnesota, opening more than 5,500 acres of habitat to public hunting, birding, hiking, trapping and other consistent recreation. To learn more about past Build A Wildlife Area projects go to:  http://www.pheasantsforever.org/Habitat/Build-a-Wildlife-Area.aspx

Vukonich WPA – The Vukonich WPA is dedicated in the honor of Chuck Vukonich, a 36-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with countless contributions to the Fergus Falls Wetland Management District where he spent his entire career. Recently retired, Vukonich worked daily in cooperation with landowners who were interested in the protection of wetlands and prairie habitat in his assigned Management District.

This 160-acre parcel sits amidst a complex of wetlands and grasslands which are highly productive for waterfowl, deer, pheasants, and other upland game. The Vukonich WPA is currently open for public hunting and is located approximately four miles east of Herman, Minn., and one-half mile north on dead end gravel road (250th Avenue).

The Vukonich WPA was made possible by contributions from the Otter Tail County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Lake Country Sportsman’s Club, and the Anoka County, Pelican River, Stevens County, Traverse County, and Wadena County Chapters of Pheasants Forever.

About Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 740 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.  Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $577 million on 489,000 habitat projects benefiting 12 million acres nationwide.

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