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About the Complex

View of the Rocky Mountain Front with lots of yellow wildflowers in the foreground.

Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the Benton Lake Wetland Management District are managed as part of the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Benton Lake NWR Complex encompasses 163,304 acres in northwestern and north-central Montana. Spanning both sides of the Continental Divide, the refuge complex is a collection of diverse landscapes, from wetlands and mixed-grass prairie in the east to forests, intermountain grasslands, rivers, and lakes in the west. Likewise, animal species that inhabit the refuge complex lands are diverse and reflective of a variety of habitats. Large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds inhabit wetlands in the east, while large predators such as grizzly bears make their home in the mountains and forests to the west.


The refuge complex oversees management of 28 units (2 refuges and a wetland management district containing 23 waterfowl production areas and 3 conservation areas) and administers 216 easements within the Refuge System.


Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1929 and consists of 12,383 fee-title acres and 76.88 acres of right-of-way easement. It is located on the northern Great Plains, 50 miles east of the Rocky Mountains and 12 miles north of Great Falls, Montana.  Learn More

Benton Lake Wetland Management District was established in 1975. It covers 10 counties (Cascade, Chouteau, Glacier, Hill, Lewis & Clark, Liberty, Pondera, Powell, Teton, and Toole) and includes 23 waterfowl production areas and 4 distinct easement programs. This district covers the largest geographical area of any in the United States. The protection of habitat in the district continues to grow with acquisition of more easements and waterfowl production areas.

Blackfoot Valley Conservation Area was authorized in 1995 and established in 1997. This conservation easement program has the potential to protect up to 103,500 acres in the Blackfoot Valley by buying conservation easements from interested private landowners within the 824,024 -acre project area.

Rocky Mountain Front Conservation Area was authorzied in 2005 and established in 2006. This conservation easement program has the potential to protect up to 295,000 acres in the Rocky Mountain Front by buying conservation easements from interested private landowners within the 918,000-acre project area.

Swan River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1973 and consists of 1,568.81 acres. It is located in the Swan Valley, 38 miles southeast of Creston, Montana.

Swan Valley Conservation Area was authorized in 2011 and established in 2012. This conservation area has the potential to protect up to 10,000 acres in the Swan Valley by buying conservation easements from interested private landowners, and up to 1,000 acres in fee-title land next to the Swan River Refuge within the 187,400-acre project area.




The Refuge Complex headquarters is located at 922 Bootlegger Trail, Great Falls, MT 59404
 

 

 

 

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
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