Rocky Mountain Arsenal
National Wildlife Refuge
|6550 Gateway Road
Commerce City, CO 80022
Phone Number: 303-289-0930
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|The reintroduction of American bison at the Refuge marks the return of an animal that was once a key component of prairie ecosystems.|
Continued . . . Throughout the year, visitors may see mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, and raptors such as red-tailed hawks, northern harriers, and great horned owls.
The Refuge is also home to a nesting pair of bald eagles. Burrowing owls inhabit the Refuge each summer and nest in abandoned prairie dog burrows. In spring and summer, wildlife visitors also include Swainson's hawks, American white pelicans, and a variety of migratory birds such as western tanagers, northern orioles, lark buntings, mountain bluebirds, warblers, and red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds.
Refuge lakes provide a haven for several species of migrating ducks during the fall, including gadwalls, redheads, blue-winged teal, northern pintails, goldeneye, lesser scaup, and northern shovelers. Wintering raptors include bald eagles, ferruginous hawks, and rough-legged hawks. Known for being one of the best warm water catch-and-release fisheries in Colorado, the Refuge lakes produce bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.
A large portion of the Refuge consists of shortgrass prairie, however, wetland, woodland, and shrubland habitat can be found in the southern sections. Restoration efforts have involved planting several native prairie plant species, including grasses such as blue gramma, big and little bluestem, red three awn, needle-and-thread, and buffalo grass. A sampling of wildflowers and shrubs include blue flax, penstemon, bee plant, blanket flower, prickly poppy, purple and yellow mustard, rabbit brush, and sand sage.
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