Wetland Management Districts were established to manage Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) - small parcels of land purchased to provide nesting habitat for waterfowl. Waubay Wetland Management District is located in the "Coteau des Prairie," or prairie hills region of South Dakota. It includes more than 300 WPAs ranging from 40 acres to more than 1,600 acres in size, comprising a total of 40,000 acres.
The landscape is dotted with numerous lakes and wetlands making it an important part of the prairie pothole region, the largest duck production area of the United States. Interspersed with grasslands, this landscape provides habitat not only for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other water birds, but also for raptors and grassland-dependent bird species. Butterflies and numerous other insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals also thrive in this special habitat. Some of the largest remaining tracts of native tallgrass prairie occur in this area. Waubay WMD includes the very first Waterfowl Production Area - McCarlson (Day County), acquired in January 1959.
Access to all WPAs is limited to foot traffic only. Grassed parking lots are available at many of the larger WPAs to provide off-road parking. There are no facilities or designated hiking trails. WPAs tend to be used very heavily during hunting seasons, but they also provide wonderful opportunities to explore the natural heritage of our state at other times of the year.