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Wildlife Management

Rock Falls Wildlife Area

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In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, please visit our COVID-19 information webpage for the most up to date information on property access, building closures, camping cancellations, event cancellations and more.

Locally, this property is often referred to as "Stoner Marsh." It is 268 acres and is located approximately 1/2 mile south of Rock Falls, lying between County Highway H and State Highway 85. Access can be gained to this property through parking areas on the west side of Highway H and at the end of 890th St. Roadside parking is also available along 90th Ave.

Rock Creek flows through this property from south to north for approximately 1/2 mile. The areas adjacent to the creek are dominated by mature white pines on the north end of the property and oaks on the south end. There are large impoundments to both the east and west of the creek, each surrounded by at least 80 acres of warm-season tall grass prairie, providing excellent habitat for waterfowl and grassland birds. The impoundment to the west is part of an extensive cattail marsh which provides high quality winter cover for pheasants. One acre food plots can also be found on each side of the creek.

This property lies within the boundary of the Lower Chippewa River State Natural Area. Management on a landscape scale is encouraged and possible due to the proximity of this property in relation to the Federal lands and several areas under long term conservation easements through programs such as the federal Wetland Reserve Program.


Acquisition of lands for the Rock Falls Wildlife Area began in 1980 and concluded by 1988. The department received a great deal of assistance and support for this project from local sportsmen's clubs, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Development of this project allowed for protection of a portion of Rock Creek, restoration of wetlands and development of upland cover for grassland birds. This area, along with a nearby Federal Waterfowl Production Area, were the focal points for a wild pheasant restoration project that took place between 1997 and 1999.

The management objectives for this property include protecting the waters of Rock Creek, promoting waterfowl, grassland bird and shorebird usage by manipulating water levels on the west impoundment, managing the grasslands for nesting and managing the wooded areas for mature white pine and oak.

The property is monitored for invasive species. Seasonal drawdowns may occur on the west impoundment to create feeding opportunities for shorebirds and migrating waterfowl in the fall. The grasslands are maintained through mowing and prescribed burning. The woodlands are monitored for oak wilt and managed for mature oak and white pine.

The Lower Chippewa River Properties master plan was completed in 2010 and guides the long term management of this property. Progress toward achieving the goals of the master plan are tracked through annual monitoring reports.


The Rock Falls Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities.

  • Birding
  • Cross country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Hunting - especially noted for deer, pheasant, turkey, waterfowl and small game
  • Snowmobiling trail
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing

Download [PDF] a map of this property.

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

Useful links
Last revised: Tuesday March 24 2020