U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2012.


REFUGE EMAIL

cmr@fws.gov


REFUGE STREET ADDRESS

Charles M. Russell and UL Bend National Wildlife Refuges
Airport Road
Lewistown, Montana

 

REFUGE MAILING ADDRESS
Charles M. Russell and UL Bend National Wildlife Refuges
P.O. Box 110
Lewistown, Montana 59457

 

REFUGE TELEPHONE
406 / 538 8706

 

REFUGE WEB SITE

www.fws.gov/refuge/charles_m_russell

 

Comprehensive Conservation Plan


Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge

Montana

Description

The comprehensive conservation plan sets out the management and use of Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years. These refuges are in north-central Montana.

Covering 1.1 million acres, the Charles M. Russell refuge (including the UL Bend refuge) is the largest national wildlife refuge in Montana and the second largest refuge in the lower 48 states. In many ways, this vast and remote area has changed little from the historic voyage of the Lewis and Clark expedition—through the era of outlaws and homesteaders—to the present time.

Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge (as the Fort Peck Game Range) was established to sustain sustaining large numbers of sharp-tailed grouse, pronghorn, and other wildlife.

  • Established in 1936 as Fort Peck Game Range.
  • Designated in 1963 as Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Range.
  • Renamed in 1976 as Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Comprises 1,100,000 acres.
  • Located 150 miles northeast of Billings, Montana, in the counties of Fergus, Garfield, McCone, Petroleum, Phillips, and Valley.  

This huge refuge extends 125 miles up the Missouri River from the Fort Peck Dam and includes the 245,000-acre Fort Peck Reservoir. There are 155,288 acres on the refuge proposed for wilderness designation.

Native prairies, forested coulees, river bottoms, and badlands abound, and wildlife on the refuge is as diverse as the topography. Visitors can see elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, prairie dogs, sage-grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, and more than 236 other species of birds.

More than 233,081 visitors enjoy hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation on the refuge. Facilities include an auto tour route, elk-viewing area, visitor center at Fort Peck Dam, boat ramps, and several campgrounds. There are more than 600 miles of two-track roads on the refuge although many of these are impassable when wet. The entire refuge is open to dispersed camping, hiking, and horseback riding, but no formal trails exist.

Plan cover with photo of two bull elk in a grassy area.

Plan cover showing a bull elk bugling during the fall mating season. Photo copyright Diane Hargreaves.

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge

  • Established in 1969.
  • Comprises 56,048 acres.
  • Located 150 miles northeast of Billings, Montana, in Phillips County.  

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge lies within the boundaries of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. Much of the refuge—20,819 acres—is designated as the UL Bend Wilderness. In addition, the refuge is a reintroduction site for the endangered black-footed ferret. 

Documents

Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) Record of decision 2012 (PDF)

CCP 2012 (60 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents, Summary (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 1, Introduction (5 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, Refuge History and Vision (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, Refuge Resources and Description (45 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, Management Direction (5 MB PDF)
Appendixes (2 MB PDF)

Final CCP and environmental impact statement (EIS), volumes 1 and 2
Final CCP and EIS, volume 1 (final plan and EIS) 2012 (35 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Volume 1: Abstract, Contents, Summary (1 MB PDF)
Volume 1: Chapter 1, Introduction (2 MB PDF)
Volume 1: Chapter 2, Refuge History and Vision (3 MB PDF)
Volume 1: Chapter 3, Alternatives (12 MB PDF)
Volume 1: Chapter 4, Affected Environment (13 MB PDF)
Volume 1: Chapter 5, Environmental Consequences (2 MB PDF)
Volume 1: Glossary, Appendixes, Bibliography, Index (2 MB PDF)

Final CCP and EIS, volume 2 (comments on the draft plan and EIS) 2012 (20 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Volume 2: Contents (PDF)
Volume 2: Chapter 1, Introduction (PDF)
Volume 2: Chapter 2, Comments from Agencies and Organizations (16 MB PDF)
Volume 2: Chapter 3, Comments from Individuals (PDF)
Volume 2: Chapter 4, Public Hearing Testimony (4 MB PDF)
Volume 2: Bibliography (PDF)

Draft CCP and EIS
Draft CCP and EIS 2010 (9 MB PDF)
Large-format maps (12 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Abstract, summary (1 MB PDF)
Contents, abbreviations (PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (1 MB PDF)
Figure 5, analysis area map (PDF)
Chapter 2, refuge history and vision (1 MB PDF)
Figure 6, topographic map (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, alternatives (2 MB PDF)
Figure 7, alternative A map (1 MB PDF)
Figure 8, alternative B map (1 MB PDF)
Figure 9, alternative C map (1 MB PDF)
Figure 10, alternative D map (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, affected environment (3 MB PDF)
Figure 15, water and geography map
(1 MB PDF)
Figure 16, habitat unit (grazing) map (1 MB PDF)
Figure 17, habitat types map (1 MB PDF)
Figure 18, fire frequency map (1 MB PDF)
Figure 22, invasive species map (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 5, environmental consequences (2 MB PDF)
Glossary, appendixes, and bibliography (1MB PDF)
Figure A, wilderness map (1MB PDF)