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Monte Vista
National Wildlife Refuge

Cattails line the shores of a large wetland at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.  In the distance, dark storm clouds roll in over the mountains.
9383 El Rancho Lane
Alamosa, CO   81101
E-mail: alamosa@fws.gov
Phone Number: 719-589-4021
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Wetlands found at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge are part of the most important habitat in Colorado for waterfowl and shorebird populations.
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Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

Monte Vista and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) are found in the heart of Colorado's San Luis valley. The artificially created wetlands on Monte Vista NWR's 14,804 acres are intensively managed to provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other water birds. Mallards, pintail, teal, and Canada geese are common, as are American avocets, killdeer, white-faced ibis, egrets, and herons. Irrigation canals and wells provide precious water to maintain important wetland habitat.

Getting There . . .
The headquarters for both Refuges is located at Alamosa NWR, 4 miles east of the town of Alamosa, Colorado, on Highway 160 and 2 miles south on El Rancho Lane. Monte Vista NWR is located 6 miles south of the town of Monte Vista on Highway 15.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The entire Rocky Mountain population of sandhill cranes migrates biannually through the Monte Vista NWR and the San Luis Valley.

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Sitting at an elevation of approximately 7,600 feet and at the western edge of the Central Flyway, the San Luis Valley has always provided crucial migratory bird habitat.

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Management Activities
Because of the importance of water to this region, water management on Monte Vista NWR is particularly important. Many irrigation canals built during the 1880s provide water to Monte Vista NWR and other valley water users. Water levels can be manipulated to provide birds with adequate aquatic vegetation for food and escape cover. To provide much of the wetland habitat on both Refuges, water is distributed and manipulated by Refuge staff through an extensive system of ditches, water control structures, dikes, and levees.