Visit Us

Visitor Center Hours:

Monday - Friday,  8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. except Federal Holidays.   

Inside the visitor center you can view framed prints donated by nine local South Dakota artists, and observe the fur, skull, track mold, and scat displays. Outside the visitor center, a spotting scope is set up on the observation deck.    

Getting There...

The District headquarters is located 2 miles east of the town of Madison, South Dakota and 3/4 miles south of the junction of Highway 34 and Highway 19.  


Visitors can take a walk on the wild side and step into the visitor center to catch a glimpse of the 15 snow geese circling over head.  Many species of wildlife use the adjacent marsh and you may be lucky enough to watch large flocks of pelicans performing a fantastic feeding display.    

Headquartered in Madison, South Dakota, Madison Wetland Management District includes 43,971 acresof waterfowl production areas in a 17-county area. The counties include Bon Homme, Brookings, Clay, Deuel, Hamlin, Hanson, Hutchinson, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Turner, Union, and Yankton. Madison Wetland Management District's 222 Waterfowl Production Areas and 25 Lake Andes Waterfowl Production Areas provide numerous recreational opportunities to visitors every year. Wildlife-dependent recreation activities including hunting, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education and interpretation allow for public enjoyment of the WPAs while still protecting the wildlife and habitat. 

Related Documents

Special Places to Visit

In eastern South Dakota, clear blue skies frame spectacular views of shallow wetlands and tallgrass prairie. Welcome to Madison Wetland Management District, where you can experience magnificent prairie vistas, see the striking colors of the wood duck, and hear the song of a western meadowlark.

  • Coteau Prairie WPA

This WPA is 320 acres and contains 165 acres of upland that has never been plowed, a real “jewel” in the landscape. Here you will find an abundance of native grasses, forbs, and sedges once common to the region. 

Travel 19 miles east of Watertown on US Highway 212. 

  • Cox WPA

This WPA contains 350 acres are native sod and 80 acres of restored grassland of which 58 acres were reestablished to compliment the Dakota Skipper habitat, a candidate species for the endangered species list. Here you will also see an old wagon trail located approximately 1 mile west of the parking lot on Highway 81.  

Travel 12 miles south of Watertown on US Highway 81. 

  • Madison / Payne WPA Complex

    Here you will find the District headquarters and visitor center. At the visitor center, learn about snow geese and their migration journey, listen to the bird calls, and enjoy the wildlife art of many South Dakota artists. Watch the waterfowl and wildlife of Lake Madison from the observation deck. The visitor center is open weekdays from 8:00a.m. to 4:30 pm, except for Federal holidays. Travel the interpretive auto tour route on the Madison WPA, visit the Karl Mundt rest stop and overlook, or take a walk or ride on the Highway 19 Bike trail beginning at the headquarters.  

    Travel 2 miles east of Madison and ¾-mile south on Highway 19. 

  • Paul Errington Memorial Marsh

    This 650-acre marsh is comprised of shallow and deep wetlands surrounded by grasslands that provide magnificent opportunities to view wildlife. The area is dedicated to the memory of Paul Errington, outstanding biologist and writer whose boyhood days were spent in this area. Errington noted, "For me, as an individual, no other natural feature has ever had the enduring attraction of an undespoiled chain of marshes in an undespoiled setting of glacial hills."  

    Travel 10 miles west of Brookings on US Highway 14 and 10 miles north on 459th Ave. 

  • Dry Lake WPA

    This is the largest WPA in the District, encompassing 1,445 acres of prime waterfowl habitat. On the east side of the WPA, a 350-acre drained wetland basin was restored in 1996 in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited. The surrounding uplands were seeded to a diverse mix of native species.   

    Travel 11 miles west of Brookings on US Highway 14, 1.5 miles north on 458th Ave.  

  • Silver Lake / Halverson WPA Complex

    This 950 acre WPA complex provides excellent waterfowl habitat with a mix of restored wetlands and grasslands. This was the lake which Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in her book By the Shores of Silver Lake. Today, the lake is shallower and has more vegetation, making it now more of a marsh.  

    Travel east of De Smet 0.5 miles on US Highway 14. 

Other Facilities in the Complex

Rules and Policies

There are lots of fun, interesting, and educational things for you to enjoy at the Madison Wetland Management District. When in doubt about rules or regulations regarding a specific activity, please check with the Madison Wetland Management District office before participating in that activity. Be safe and have fun! 

This page applies to the South Dakota Public Use Regulations of Waterfowl Production Areas in the Madison Wetland Management District. Wildlife-dependent recreational activities are allowed on waterfowl production areas, including hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation and photography, environmental education, and interpretation. Please observe the following regulations to protect natural resources and to help ensure that your visit will be safe and enjoyable.    

Additional Information:  Additional information can be obtained by contacting Madison Wetland Management District office at 605-256-2974 or 23520 SD Hwy 19, Madison, South Dakota 57042. 


Madison Wetland Management District
23520 SD Highway 19Madison,SD57042
Driving Directions

The District headquarters is located 2 miles east of the town of Madison, SD and 3/4 miles south of the junction of Highway 34 and Highway 19.  

Visitor Center Hours
Monday-Friday, Year Round
8 am- 4:30pm