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Loving life in the Great White North

As an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys hunting, fishing and basically anything that involves spending time out-of-doors, Ryan Frohling seems to be a perfect fit as the new project leader for the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District.

Frohling, a native of northeast South Dakota, has actually been a resident of the lakes area for the past year, since he moved here in June 2010 as the new assistant manager at the Detroit Lakes WMD office.

"I've been with U.S. Fish & Wildlife for 16 years," Frohling says, noting that he came by his love of the outdoors naturally; his dad was also with U.S. Fish & Wildlife for many years. "That's what got me interested in the service."

He and his wife Mara live with their three children in a rural home north of Perham, about 20 miles from Detroit Lakes.

They are all enjoying their new home immensely, according to Frohling.

"This is a phenomenal place to live," he says. "My family's enjoying it a lot -- we have a lot of friends.

"There really is something to the saying 'Minnesota nice' -- the vast majority of people here are more than willing to help out when you need it."

The family also enjoys the cooler climate and rural lifestyle preferable to their most recent home before this one, living in the Kansas City area.

"I lived in Missouri, and worked in Kansas," says Frohling, who was employed at the Marais des Cygness National Wildlife Refuge at the time.

Before that, he worked at "several refuges and wetland management districts in the Midwest," including Sand Lake NWR in South Dakota and Benton Lake NWR in Montana.

"Most of my work has been managing habitat in waterfowl production areas (WPA's), and also working with private landowners to restore habitat on their lands, through conservation easements," he says.

His work in Detroit Lakes is similar, Frohling adds.

"The Detroit Lakes WMD encompasses five counties -- Becker, Clay, Mahnomen, Norman and Polk -- and we own about 42,000 acres of WPA's across those five counties," he says.

That land is "managed mostly for waterfowl production, as well as other wildlife benefits," Frohling explains. "We also manage the Hamden Slough NWR, which is about 3,200 acres."

His office is in the midst of completing a comprehensive conservation plan for Hamden, as well as completing a construction project for a new office complex at its headquarters on North Tower Road.

"I'm really excited to work with all of the partners we have here," Frohling says of his new job, which started last month.

The Detroit Lakes WMD works closely with the Friends of Detroit Lakes WMD, Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, Minnesota Waterfowl Association and other similar organizations on wetland and upland restoration projects.

"They (the partner organizations) apply for the grants, and use them to help us accomplish our work here," he says. "We have spent quite a good amount of money on wetland restoration and wildlife habitat this fall.

"We also work closely with Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge on projects to achieve both of our goals and missions," Frohling adds.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454