The name Seedskadee originated from the Shoshone Indian word "Sisk-a-dee-agie" meaning "river of the prairie hen." The 27,230 acre Refuge protects a mosaic of riparian, wetland, and upland shrub habitats along 36 miles of the Green River in southwest Wyoming. The riparian corridor of the Green River is an important migration route and nesting area for a wide variety of migratory waterfowl and passerine bird species. Many insects, big game and small mammals can be found on the Refuge as well as resident and migratory birds. Refuge lands are also rich in historic and cultural resources. The area was used by nomadic Indian tribes, fur trappers, and early pioneers. Hundreds of thousands of pioneers crossed the treacherous Green River on what is now Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. The Oregon and Mormon Trails, which cross the refuge, have been designated as National Historic Trails by Congress. Jim Bridger and others operated ferries on the Green In the 1840's and 1850's. Diaries of immigrants often mention the crossing on the river and its difficulties. Ferries were swept away by the strong currents and lives and possessions were lost. To this day, some of the trails can be traced across the Refuge by their ruts.
Seedskadee is a unique and ecologically important component of the National Wildlife Refuge System (System) which includes more than 555 refuges totaling over 93 million acres across the United States. Seedskadee NWR was established in 1965 through the Colorado River Storage Project Act of 1956. Section 8 of this Act provided for the establishment of wildlife habitat development areas to offset the loss of wildlife habitat resulting from reservoir development in the Colorado River Drainage. The Seedskadee Reclamation Act of 1958 specifically authorized acquisition of lands for Seedskadee NWR. In 1997, Congress passed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act. This Act required development of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for each refuge and that management of each refuge be consistent with the CCP. In addition, the Improvement Act required that each refuge be managed to fulfill the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System as well as the specific purposes for which each refuge was established.
Seedskadee NWR’s purpose is defined by two pieces of Federal enabling legislation. The principal purpose of Seedskadee NWR is to provide for the conservation, maintenance, and management of wildlife resources and its habitat including the development and improvement of such wildlife resources. Additionally, the Refuge is charged to protect the scenery, cultural resources, and other natural resources and provide for public use and enjoyment of compatible wildlife-dependent activities.
The two pieces of enabling legislation are:
1. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act: “. . . shall be administered by him/her (Secretary of the Interior) directly or in accordance with cooperative agreements . . . and in accordance with such rules and regulations for the conservation, maintenance and management of wildlife, resources thereof, and its habitat thereon, ” 16 U.S.C. 664
2. Colorado River Storage Act (section 8): “In connection with the development of the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP) and of the participating projects, the Secretary is authorized and directed to investigate, plan, construct, operate, and maintain . . . (1) public recreational facilities on lands withdrawn or acquired . . .” for the Colorado River Storage Project or participating projects in order to “. . . conserve the scenery, the natural, historic, and archaeologic objects, and the wildlife on said lands, and to provide for public use and enjoyment of the same and of the water areas created by these projects by such means as are consistent with primary purposes of said projects . . . and (2) facilities to mitigate losses of and improve conditions for, the propagation of fish and wildlife.” The Secretary may “. . . dispose of . . .” the facilities “. . . to Federal . . . agencies . . . upon such terms and conditions as will best promote their development and operation in the public interest.” 43 U.S.C. 620g Besides these two pieces of enabling legislation, the thirty-fifth legislature of the State of Wyoming passed enrolled Act No. 54 in 1959 “providing consent of the State of Wyoming to the acquisition by the United States where approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and the State Land Board, of lands for the establishment of migratory bird refuges.” In the Act, the State of Wyoming has consented to the acquisition of up to 20,000 acres of land in Wyoming for the establishment and maintenance of migratory bird refuges in accordance with and for the purposes of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act and the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act.
Thus, if ever any of these authorities, and associated funds, were invoked for the acquisition of new lands for Seedskadee NWR, these lands would be managed for “use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds” (16 U.S.C. 715d) in accordance with the Migratory Bird Conservation Act. To date,
all lands acquired have been through Section 8 of the 1956 Colorado River Storage Project Act and, as such, shall be managed under.