J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located along the Souris River in north-central North Dakota. This 58,700-acre Refuge extends south from the Canadian border for approximately 45 miles and is the largest refuge in North Dakota. The diverse habitat types found on the refuge - mixed grass prairie, river valley, marshes, sandhills, and woodlands - support an abundant variety of wildlife.
Credit: Marlene Welstad/USFWS
The Refuge serves as an important feeding and resting area for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl which annually migrate through the Central Flyway. The refuge has developed into one of the most important duck production areas in the United States and is a favorite spot for birds of all descriptions to stop during their migrations north and south. More than 300 species of birds have been observed here since the refuge was established. Nearly 125 species nest here. Gadwall, blue-winged teal, mallard, and Canada goose are the most numerous nesting waterfowl. Many species of shorebirds and grebes, the white pelican, sandhill crane, lark bunting, longspurs, and the sparrows- including Baird's and LeConte's, are among the list that take summer residence on the refuge. The Refuge is designated as a Globally Important Bird Area and is a regional site in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
Managing upland areas for waterfowl nesting habitat has also benefited upland game birds. The sharp-tailed grouse, ring-necked pheasant, gray partridge, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey are all occupants of the refuge.
Many interesting mammals can also be found on the refuge. Animals such as beaver, mink, raccoon, and weasel can be found at home in the marshes. The higher ground, which includes the sandhills area of the refuge, harbors such animals as the white-tailed deer, moose, coyote, red fox, badger, porcupine, and rabbit.