Land acquisition began under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act. The refuge was established ". . . for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds." The initial purchase, in September 1980, consisted of 803 acres. Additional acquisitions (960 and 651 acres in 1986 and 1989, respectively) brought the total to the current 2,418 acres.