DU and DNR developed the Jim and Karen Killen Waterfowl Refuge to provide a secure feeding and resting area for migratory waterfowl. The 110-acre wetland impoundment is on the broad, flat floodplain of the Minnesota River Valley and is adjacent to Marsh Lake, a famous waterfowl staging and migration lake located within the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
DU and DNR named the recently restored 110-acre wetland after the Killens within the 34,000-acre WMA in Big Stone County, near Appleton, Minnesota. A dedication ceremony was held April 29. at the WMA.
The project recognizes the Killen’s lifetime dedication and commitment to the conservation of waterfowl habitat. "This is an extraordinary conservation project for a couple of extraordinary conservationists, Jim and Karen Killen,” said Gene Merriam, Minnesota DNR commissioner. “We all benefit from working with great partners like Ducks Unlimited and the Killens."
Jim Killen is a well-respected wildlife artist who is known for his passion for wildlife habitat. The Killens have developed 280 acres of their property into a wildlife management area focusing on waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey and deer. Through his artwork, Jim has generated millions of dollars for numerous conservation groups such as DU.
"Karen and I are very thankful and humbled that Duck Unlimited and the Minnesota DNR are going to dedicate this significant waterfowl habitat area in our honor," said Jim Killen.
The project created a new wetland, which was designed and engineered to allow precise water level management to maximize the diversity of food resources, such as plant seeds and invertebrates. The wetland will provide critical food resources needed by waterfowl and other wetland-dependent bird species during their annual spring and fall migrations.
The project is an important component of DU’s Living Lakes Initiative. It also helps fulfill objectives in the DNR’s Duck Recovery Plan as well as addressing the North American Waterfowl Management and U.S. Shorebird Conservation plans.
The project’s total cost to DU and DNR exceeded $345,000, which was partially offset by funds raised at the Killen tribute event held in June 2005.