The Department manages numerous wetland development units (WDUs), waterfowl refuge portions (WRPs) and migratory bird refuge areas as portions of wildlife management areas (WMAs). These areas are managed to provide important habitat and refuge resources to waterfowl and migratory birds. Regulations on these areas may differ from the WMA where they are located. Refer to the Oklahoma Hunting Guide for regulations concerning these areas.
Most of these areas were developed and funded through sales of Oklahoma Waterfowl Hunting licenses (state duck stamps). Initiated in 1981, state duck stamp funds continue to provide funding for improvement, renovation, enhancement and maintenance of these areas. In addition, WMA personnel and funding both provide considerable resources toward area maintenance and management activities. More recently, private conservation organizations (Ducks Unlimited, NatureWorks, and other private organizations/individuals) have contributed funds to develop and enhance existing areas.
WDUs are generally managed as seasonally flooded wetlands and as such, some units or portions may be dry, disced or otherwise manipulated periodically to maintain and improve habitat conditions. Many WDUs are artificially flooded through the use of diesel powered water pumps, but some units are recharged by upstream water storage reservoirs, spring development or naturally through rainfall or overbank river flooding. It is important for hunters to check on area conditions prior to their hunt. WDU information is available in the wetland area status report or by contacting the area biologist.
WRPs and migratory bird refuges provide important refuge (seclusion and rest) areas which are free from human disturbance either seasonally or year round. These refuges are management tools used to hold waterfowl in a localized areas thus providing improved hunting opportunities on adjacent areas.
There are three primary management strategies (moist soil, green tree and agricultural crop) used on these wetland areas to provide foraging, loafing and roosting habitat that benefit waterfowl and other wetland birds.
Moist soil units are seasonally flooded wetland areas where water levels and soil conditions are manipulated to encourage annual native plants. These plants provide important food resources such as seeds, tubers and browse. In addition, these soil, plant and water conditions serve to provide critical habitat to attract other equally important waterfowl foods such as aquatic invertebrates.
Green tree reservoirs are forested wetlands which are seasonally flooded and emphasize management of certain bottomland hardwood tree species (primarily pin oak, water oak and willow oak.) These oak species are managed through water level manipulations and timber management practices in order to maintain timber viability and health. Primary food sources include acorns, other mast and aquatic invertebrates.
Agricultural crop units are areas planted to agricultural crops (corn, milo, beans, millet, etc.) by lessees or Department personnel and managed by flooding during the fall or winter months to provide a supplemental food source and to act as attractant for migrating waterfowl.
For maps and locations of Department WDUs, WRPs and refuge areas refer to the list below.