Buffalo Lake NWR Planning Update #1 2009 (.pdf, 538K)
How to Get There: The refuge is located approximately 30 miles southeast of
Amarillo, Texas, in Umbarger, Texas, on U.S. 60 between Hereford and Canyon, Texas. At
Umbarger, take FM Road 168 1.5 miles to refuge entrance road. Follow signs to headquarters
and visitor check station.
Index: Wildlife, Species
List, Things to Do at the Refuge, A Few
Simple Rules, Volunteering at the Refuge.
A valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl, thousands of ducks and geese
over-winter on Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge every year. Located in Randall County
in the Texas Panhandle, the refuge is made up of 7,664 acres of shortgrass prairie,
riparian, marsh, woodland and cropland habitats. Maintaining these habitats provide homes
for migratory and resident wildlife species.
Riparian areas, consisting of trees and grasses adjacent the dry lake bed, provide
habitat used for feeding and nesting by neotropical migratory birds, deer, and numerous
other wildlife species.
Wildlife food crops are planted in the dry lake bottom by cooperative farming. The
crops are used by wildlife for food and the mix of crops, stubble, and natural plants
provide nesting and winter cover for migratory and resident wildlife.
Buffalo Lake NWR contains some of the best remaining shortgrass prairie in the United
States, including 175 acres designated a National Natural Landmark. Shortgrass prairie
ecosystems were historically maintained by annual grazing of migrating American bison.
With the bison gone, this ecosystem is maintained by grazing cattle.
Waterfowl habitat is provided by a moist soil management unit located in Stewart Marsh.
Flooded each spring, the unit slowly dries, promoting growth of aquatic waterfowl food
plants. The unit is flooded again in fall just before the ducks arrive. The result is food
and cover for water birds seeking a rest stop. Additional wildlife water is found in
artificial ponds and water tanks.
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Buffalo Lake NWR rests in the Central Flyway, a route traveled annually by numerous
species of waterfowl and other birds, moving between tropical wintering and U.S. nesting
areas. One particular group of birds, called neotropical migrants, passes through the
refuge each spring and fall with many remaining to nest. Although many neotropical species
have declined over the years, over 300 species have been recorded on the refuge.
Neotropical migratory birds are the warblers, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, sparrows,
and numerous others that provide color and song in the trees.
The refuge also provides habitat for endangered species including bald eagles,
peregrine falcons, and mountain plovers. Resident species include both mule and
white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, bobcats, coyotes, wild turkey, pheasants, quail, rabbits
and many others.
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Birds of Buffalo
Wildlife Viewing Tips
- Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife. In warmer climates, little is moving
on hot summer afternoons or on windy days.
- Observe from the sidelines. Leave "abandoned" young animals alone. A parent is
probably close by waiting for you to leave. Don't offer snacks; your lunch could disrupt
wild digestive systems.
- Cars make good observation blinds. Drive slowly, stopping to scan places wildlife might
hide. Use binoculars or a long lens for a closer look.
- Try sitting quietly in one good location. Let wildlife get used to your presence. Many
animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone. Walk quietly in
designated areas, being aware of sounds and smells. Often you will hear more than you will
- Teach children quiet observation. Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your
- Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, feathers and nests left behind often tell
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Auto Tour Road
The auto tour road is the most convenient way to observe wildlife and habitats. By
driving slowly and watching carefully you may see neotropical migratory birds, deer,
hunting hawks, and other wildlife. The best times to see wildlife are in the morning and
afternoon as animals search for food and cover. The best seasons are spring and fall when
neotropical migratory birds arrive. Deer are best seen during the winter while feeding in
refuge habitats. Please remember the refuge belongs to the wildlife and you are visitors
in their home. Please avoid disturbing them while visiting.
Sack lunch picnicking is permitted only in the designated picnic area during posted
hours. Because wildfire is a serious threat to wildlife and their refuge habitats,
charcoal grills and ground fires are prohibited.
Photographic opportunities for wildlife and scenics abound at the refuge. Photography
is permitted on the auto tour road, the scenic overlook and observation blind, and
designated hiking trails. Construction of photography blinds is prohibited.
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Prairie Dog Town Walking Trail
This interpreted trail located on F.M. 168, two miles south of the Highway 1714
intersection, offers information on prairie dog town ecosystems. Because human foods do
not provide prairie dogs with required water and nutrients, visitors should not feed them.
Cottonwood Canyon Birding Trail
This trail follows the canyon walls through riparian habitats sought by neotropical
migratory and resident bird species. Use the bird checklist,
carry your camera and binoculars and see how many species you can find. Please remember
the refuge is closed except where designated and do not stray from the trail.
Environmental Education and Awareness
Opportunities for environmental education and wildlife experiences for schools, and
environmental clubs and organizations is available by special permit. Please contact the
refuge at 806/499-3382 or email@example.com regarding your group needs.
Draft Hunting Plan
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To protect habitat and keep Buffalo Lake NWR a safe place for wildlife and people, please follow these simple rules:
- Please drive only on designated roads.
- Hunting and fishing are not allowed on the refuge
- No weapons are allowed on the refuge.
- Buffalo Lake NWR should be a quiet place to enjoy nature--please leave fireworks, loud
radios, and other sound equipment at home.
- Help us protect wildlife habitat--swimming and boating are not allowed on the refuge.
- Keep wild things wild--all plants and animals are protected and should not be disturbed
- Overnight camping, open fires, and charcoal grills are not allowed on the refuge.
- Please leave only your footprints; take all litter with you.
- Please keep all pets on a leash; or better yet, leave pets at home.
Please contact the refuge at 806/499-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about volunteer opportunities.
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||Lynn Nymeyer, Manager
P.O. Box 179
Umbarger, Texas 79091
FW2 RW Buffalo Lake