Northern Plains Regional Wildlife Area is a new place for hiking, bird watching, hunting and trapping. The 74-acre tract is located south of Graettinger, on the east side of Northern Plains Regional Landfill.
"The City of Spencer purchased this area a year ago for future use as a landfill expansion," explained Mark White, Public Works Director in Spencer. "We have entered into a 28E agreement with Palo Alto County Conservation Board to manage it as a public use wildlife area. The area is open to the public for hiking, bird watching, hunting, trapping."
"These acres tie in with two existing wildlife areas to the north," explained Art Hampe, Director of the Palo Alto County Conservation Board. "River View is located directly north of here."
Northern Plains Regional Wildlife Area is CRP ground which was originally seeded with brome grass, bluestem and switch grass. The native prairie, to the north, features Burr Oak Savannah on the north ridge and a creek that runs through the northern most section.
This spring, Palo Alto County Conservation Board planted 4,000 trees on the landfill boundary.
"We are so happy with the agreement," said White. "In 30 years, when the landfill is closed and capped, we would like to think we can then open the landfill site (on the west side) as a wildlife area."
Northern Plains Regional Wildlife Area is a joint project between the City of Spencer and Palo Alto County Conservation Board.
"This project is truly unique," said Hampe. "This is the first time our agency has worked with a city outside of Palo Alto County and we are happy with the results."
White added, "This is a real benefit to us (City of Spencer) so we don't have to worry about management of this area."
"It's good to have both entities working together," said Hampe.