Take US 169 south from Mankato. Go west on Blue Earth County Road 9. Follow County Road 9 around the south shore of Loon Lake and the Howard Family WPA is located on the west side of the road as County Road 9 turns to the north. This WPA offers a variety of cover and terrain from native upland grasses to mature prairie wetlands.
The Blue Earth County Chapter of Minnesota Pheasants, Inc., in conjunction with the US Fish and Wildlife Service seeded the bulk of this unit. In addition, the Blue Earth County chapter donated $50,000 cash towards the restoration of the WPA.
In 2011, volunteer tree removal on this unit was initiated. Previous attempts to control volunteer tree growth through a series of controlled burns proved unsuccessful.
In 2012, the Blue Earth County Chapter of Minnesota Pheasants, Inc. was awarded a Conservation Partners Legacy (CPL) grant to continue volunteer tree removal. Tree removal was completed on the entire unit.
In 2013, Pheasants Forever acquired additional adjacent acreage which greatly expands the Howard Family WPA unit. The approximate unit boundaries are indicated in the gallery images. The yellow tinted area is the approximate boundaries of the 2013 addition. Signage at the unit will more closely indicate the actual boundaries. Restoration on the addition was started in 2014 and continued into 2015 & 2016. The Howard Family WPA currently offers approximately 573 acres of varied habitat.
In 2014, Minnesota Pheasants, Inc.- Blue Earth County Chapter partnered with the Minnesota Valley Trust on what is know as the “Smith” addition. The 2013 addition was planted and additional restoration continued in 2015 & 2016
In 2017 Minnesota Pheasants, Inc. provided funding for two grants. The first grant continued removal and control of volunteer trees and the second grant is for restoration near the north main parking area consisting of heavy forb planting.
Howard Family WPA will receive on-going restoration and maintenance including tree removal as dictated as well as prescribed burns and additional seeding and habitat enhancements.
Before & after images of the spring 2018 prescribed burn.