On September 16, 2022, the Windom Wetland Management District unveiled the new Martin J. Baker Waterfowl Production Area in Cottonwood County. Friends, family and colleagues past and present gathered at the site for a special memorial and unveiling. This 720-acre unit features a rolling landscape of native wildflowers and wetlands, including remnants of prairie, and provides respite for wildlife and humans.
Martin “Marty” Baker worked for the Windom Wetland Management District as a biological science technician for nearly 30 years until his untimely death due to an out-of-service farm accident on March 14, 2021. Baker’s Contributions to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and waterfowl production area program were large and diverse. While he was a dedicated mentor and patient teacher, Baker’s skills and accomplishments were far-reaching. All that aside, he truly loved and excelled at rebuilding the native prairie. Tens of thousands of acres of native grasses and wildflowers have been sown in southern Minnesota by the hands of Baker, and the seeds of these plants will continue to be harvested to restore new lands. Baker is recognized in the conservation community for his passion and dedication to the resource, and his family and friends will remember him for his hard work, addictive smile, positive attitude and good nature.
“With Marty passing, we lost his experience, expertise and understanding of the prairie. ‘They’re teaching him something that Marty had taught them over the years, it’s like Marty is still with us,’ said Suzanne Baird, deputy regional director of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Formerly known as the Augusta Lake Waterfowl Production Area, this unit is considered the most appropriate part of the Windom Wetland Management District to commemorate Baker’s life and career, as Augusta Lake was one of Baker’s favorite places. He had expressed great passion for his large assemblage of native prairie plants and had spent much time over the years working to protect and improve the habitat there. Baker was dedicated to the resource and spent considerable time researching and using his personal experience to recommend and implement habitat improvements for this unit. Regularly conducting prescribed burns, grazing, tree felling and invasive species control, he reseeded old cultivated fields as acreage was added to the unit over the years. . He also harvested seeds from his native prairie remnant to create new prairie and enrich wildlife habitat.
Baker has worked on this land to ensure that everyone can enjoy this prairie gem by improving wildlife habitat and expanding access for hunting, wildlife viewing and learning. in the classroom of nature. We invite you to visit the Martin J. Baker Waterfowl Production Area and make your own memories with the prairie.
Learn more about the Windom Wetland Management District.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continued benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and a trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, recognized for our scientific excellence, our stewardship of lands and natural resources, our dedicated professionals and our commitment to public service. For more information about our work and the people who do it, visit fws.gov.