National Wildlife Refuge
|2150 East 2350 North
Hamer, ID 83425 - 5030
Phone Number: 208-662-5423
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Camas National Wildlife Refuge
About half of the Camas National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Idaho consists of lakes, ponds, and marshlands; the remainder is grass sagebrush uplands, meadows, and farm fields. Camas Creek flows through the length of the refuge.
During migration, which peaks in March-April and October, up to 50,000 ducks and 3,000 geese may be present on the refuge.
The refuge has become a popular swan watching destination with hundreds of tundra and trumpeter swans stopping over during migration. Several state record songbird observations have been made in refuge cottonwood groves.
Water management is a critical component of Camas Refuge operations. An extensive system of canals, dikes, wells, ponds, and water-control structures is used to manipulate water for the benefit of wildlife, with an emphasis on nesting waterfowl.
Haying and prescribed fire are used to manipulate vegetation in some fields, and small grain crops are grown to provide supplemental feed for geese and cranes and to keep them from damaging private croplands.
Getting There . . .
From Interstate 15, take the Hamer exit (exit 150), turn east and go about a quarter of a mile into the little village of Hamer.
Turn north on the frontage road, continue about 3 miles then turn west. Continue nearly 2 miles to the refuge. There are signs after you turn off the interstate.
Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:
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Clean and abundant water is the key to a healthy wetland community of plants and animals. The water supply at Camas has decreased over the years due to natural drought cycles and agricultural development, which have lowered the water table.
Camas Creek and Beaver Creek do not flow long enough to provide as much water as they once did and cannot sustain the refuge's wetlands at certain times of the year. To remedy this problem, the refuge has constructed wells and ditches to provide additional water.
While a significant portion of the refuge remains in an essentially natural condition, some lands have been intensively developed. In the 1930s, crews from the Works Progress Administration constructed the refuge headquarters buildings, water control structures, and bridges.
Over the years, an extensive system of canals, dikes, wells, ponds, and water control structures has been constructed to manipulate water for the benefit of wildlife. Today, water facilities maintained by the refuge include 12 miles of dikes, 31 miles of canals, 9 wells, 8 bridges, and 25 water control structures.
The refuge grows crops to supplement the natural foods available to wildlife. A grain crop of wheat or barley raised and left standing provides feed for migrating ducks. Alfalfa hay is grown for fall goose food.
Similarly, wild hay is cut and removed on some refuge units to encourage green re-growth for goose food. When ample food sources are available on the refuge, waterfowl are less likely to feed on farmers' crops off refuge where they may not be welcome.