Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Mountain-Prairie Region

Florence Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Burleigh County, North Dakota

aerial photo of Florence Lake taken by Refuge staffFlorence Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1939 “...as a photo of Florence Lake entrance sign by Refuge Staffrefuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife..”, by Executive Order 8119. The Refuge attracts significant numbers of waterfowl during the fall migration. It is also an important migratory bird production area. Waterfowl breeding pair distribution maps indicate the N½ of the Refuge has potential for attracting 80-100 pairs/square mile, whereas the S½ has the potential for 40-60 pairs/square mile. Resident and migratory wildlife species, including sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge, white-tailed deer, and coyotes utilize the Refuge.

Florence Lake NWR is a 1,888.2 acre refuge located in northern Burleigh County approximately 45 miles northwest of Long Lake NWR. The Refuge consists of 1,468.4 acres of fee title and 419.8 acres of easement, (132 acres of which is meandered lake). The fee portion of the Refuge consists of 976.4 acres of native grass, 201.9 acres of tame grass, 110.9 acres of cropland, 163.2 acres of wetland, and 16 acres of woodland. The cropland was re-seeded to mixed grass natives in 2000. The easement portion consists of 315 acres of cropland and 104.8 acres of wetland. 

The Refuge contains an attractive wetland complex which is strong on the permanent and seasonal wetland component and short on temporary wetlands. Another attribute is the expanse of native grasslands adjacent to and surrounding the Refuge. Cereal crop production is limited in the adjacent surrounding private lands.

Soils on Florence Lake NWR are mostly composed of sandy loam underlain by gravel. These are marginal farmlands. Parts of the Refuge have been farmed off and on since the early 1960's. In the past few years it has been noted that the yields of the crops are marginal. The farming agreement expired with a local landowner and was not renewed. The existing cropland was seeded down in 2000. This will likely not be the end of farming at the Refuge as grass stands needing renovation may be farmed to re-establish mixed grass native stands. Checks of the seeding confirmed that the seeding is successful.

The entire Refuge is in some type of grass cover. Be it native, seeded native, DNC and/or other tame grasses.

There are approximately 976 acres of native grassland, 202 acres of tame grass and 111 acres of cropland in native and tame grass.
There are no facilities on the Refuge and no hunting or fishing is allowed.

The largest issue concerning this Refuge is the fact that it remains closed to deer hunting. Although the area herd is relatively small (100-200 animals), they often concentrate on one or two landowners during the winter months. In the mid 1990's staff prepared documents to open the Refuge to deer hunting. The plans met with considerable opposition. A survey was conducted of hunters using the area during the hunting season and none expressed a positive interest in opening the refuge. Most thought the refuge status of the area contributed to hunting in the general area and felt that if the Refuge was opened, hunting in the area would suffer. All area landowners were opposed, with the exception of those who have problems with the deer during the winter. A few local wildlife enthusiasts and hunters decided to try establishing some winter feeding sites near the Refuge to try to reduce the deer impacts. Although we support their efforts, it is doubtful that the program will be successful in reducing complaints about the deer.

Last updated: August 8, 2011