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Malheur
National Wildlife Refuge


3691 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR   97721 - 9502
E-mail: Tim_Bodeen@fws.gov
Phone Number: 541-493-2612
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/malheur/
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  Overview
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
One of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge protects a vast complex of wetlands in southeastern Oregon's high desert. It is adjacent to the Steens Mountain Wilderness, with the Wild and Scenic Donner and Blitzen River flowing into the refuge at its southern boundary.

The refuge is famous for its tremendous diversity and spectacular concentrations of wildlife. Boasting over 320 bird species and 58 mammal species, Malheur is a mecca for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Spring is the most spectacular season at Malheur. More than 130 species of birds nest on the refuge, while other waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway stop at the refuge to refuel for their journey northward. In February, northern pintail and tundra swan begin to arrive, followed by large flocks of lesser and greater sandhill crane, and flocks of snow goose and Ross' goose.


Getting There . . .
Take State Highway 78 two miles east of Burns, Oregon. Head south on State Highway 205 for 24 miles to the Narrows RV Park and cafe. Head east on Harney County Road 405 (Narrows to Princeton Road) for 6 miles. Turn left at top of hill into the headquarters area.

Motorized vehicles are permitted only on roads open to the public: Center Patrol Road, Field Station Road, Buena Vista Lane, Krumbo Lane, Five Mile Lane, and P Lane. All vehicles must be operated by licensed drivers and must be street legal. All other roads are closed to the public. ATV use is prohibited on the refuge.

Gasoline, supermarkets, and restaurants are located in Burns and Hines. Gasoline and limited groceries are available at the Narrows as well as in Crane, Diamond, and Fields. Hours may vary for these businesses, and some are closed during the winter.

Camping is not allowed anywhere within the refuge boundaries. However, there are a number of hotels, RV parks, and camping opportunities near the refuge.


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Wildlife and Habitat

Malheur Refuge consists of more than 187,000 acres of prime habitat, including 120,000 acres of wetlands, on the Pacific Flyway. Particularly important to colonial waterbirds, sandhill cranes, and redband trout, the refuge also encompasses upland and riparian habitats vital to many migrating birds and wildlife.

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History
People have been drawn to Malheur's abundant wildlife and natural resources for thousands of years. The first documented use of Harney Basin, where the refuge, began around 8,000 years ago. These early people caught cui chub, suckers, and squawfish, and hunted ducks, antelope, coyote, muskrat, and bison.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Fishing
Hunting
Interpretation
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Major habitat and wildlife management programs include prescribed burning, water manipulation, carp control, haying and grazing, farming, wildlife surveys, noxious weed control, and occasional predator control. Water is the lifeblood of the refuge. Ponds, marshes, and lakes attract many species--trumpeter swans, ducks, pelicans, and grebes--who rely on these wetlands for food and safe nesting places.

We use a series of dams, canals, levees, and ditches to ensure a good supply of water while birds are rearing their broods. We also raise or lower water levels to improve marsh soils, stimulate growth of plant, and control carp, which destroy plants that waterfowl use for food. Deep flooding drowns unwanted vegetation, creating areas of open water where broods feed and rest, safe from predators.

Meadows are important feeding areas for sandhill cranes, Canada geese, nesting waterfowl, and mule deer. To encourage growth of nutritious food, we mow, graze, or burn meadows to remove old plants and stimulate new growth. A riparian zone is habitat that borders a river or stream. Plants that grow in these areas depend on a steady supply of fresh water.

Scattered throughout the refuge are riparian zones dominated by willow. This habitat provides food, water, nest sites, and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife. We plant willow to increase the amount of this valuable habitat.

Common upland plants like sagebrush, greasewood, and Great Basin wild rye provide forage for deer and antelope, and nesting sites for duck, pheasants, thrashers, and quail. We carefully burn uplands to encourage growth of native grasses for nesting.

We remove perennial pepperweed and other noxious weeds from all these habitats to keep them from driving out native vegetation. We also conduct wildlife surveys to inform wildlife managers on the effects of these habitat programs. Surveys provide data on bird numbers, nesting success, predator numbers and hunter success.

One of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Malheur Refuge protects a vast complex of wetlands in the high desert of southeastern Oregon. The refuge is famous for its tremendous diversity and spectacular concentrations of wildlife. Boasting over 320 bird species and 58 mammal species, Malheur is a mecca for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

The refuge consists of more than 186,500 acres of prime habitat, including 120,000 acres of wetlands, on the Pacific Flyway. Particularly important to colonial water birds, sandhill cranes, and redband trout, the refuge also encompasses upland and riparian habitats vital to many migrating birds and wildlife.

The refuge has several distinct zones: the Blitzen Valley, the Lakes, and the Double-O. Malheur Lake is a large freshwater marsh. The Blitzen River floodplain varies from several hundred feet to a mile in width. Much of the river was channelized during an earlier period by cattle interests.

Harney Lake is the low point of the Harney Basin, it has high alkalinity. It is also one of two research natural areas on the refuge. The Double-O has numerous springs in an otherwise arid habitat. Additional wetlands were created through projects completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and '40s.

The flood irrigation systems in the Blitzen Valley and Double-O provide excellent managed habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Riparian zones provide important nesting habitat for species like willow flycatcher. The refuge is an important nesting area for greater sandhill cranes, colonial water birds such as white faced ibis and eared grebes, various waterfowl species, bobolinks, and shorebirds.

The Malheur Wildlife Associates (MWA) is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to assist the refuge with a variety of activities. MWA volunteers are involved in a variety of projects which benefit wildlife and visitors to the refuge. Some of their projects include the establishment of a native plant nursery, construction of wildlife viewing trails, procurement of grants for various recreation projects, leading environmental education activities and conducting educational tours.

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