Audubon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in central North Dakota and is part of a landscape that is marked by numerous wetlands called potholes. These land depressions are what remained after glaciers melted from the area over 10,000 years ago. This landscape, commonly called the prairie pothole region, extends from North Dakota into Canada, Minnesota, western Iowa, South Dakota, and eastern Montana.
The Refuge encompasses 14,735 acres of native prairie, planted grasslands, and wetlands. These lands are managed to meet the needs of many species of wildlife.
On May 25, 1956, Snake Creek NWR was established after construction of Garrison Dam was completed across the Missouri River. This 2.5 mile long dam created a huge reservoir named Lake Sakakawea, which is 368,000 acres in size. Snake Creek NWR replaced some of the important wildlife habitat that was lost when Lake Sakakawea was filled. In 1967, Snake Creek NWR was renamed Audubon NWR to honor John James Audubon, one of the great naturalists and wildlife painters of the 19th century. Audubon spent the summer of 1843 near this area collecting bird specimens and painting pictures of northern plains wildlife.
Audubon NWR provides food, water, shelter, and space for a variety of wildlife species. Refuge managers focus their efforts on managing the land to meet the needs of waterfowl and other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and resident wildlife.
Audubon Refuge extends a thank you to the photographers who contributed their artwork for this website. Photo Credits.