Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Southwest Region

The Nation's first waterfowl refuge

Established 1908 
"as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds" Executive Order
"...dedicated to wildlife conservation...for the major purpose of waterfowl management, but with full consideration to optimum agricultural use that is consistent therewith"  

Kuchel Act 1964

Yellow-headed Blackbird, Photo: Dave Menke
Gadwall Hen, Photo: Dave Menke White-faced Ibis breed in Lower Klamath Marshes, Photo: Dave Menke Bald Eagles feed at Lower Klamath, Photo: Dave Menke
Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, Lower Klamath Refuge is our nation’s first waterfowl refuge. This 46,900 acre Refuge is a varied mix of shallow freshwater marshes, open water, grassy uplands, and croplands that are intensively managed to provide feeding, resting, nesting, and brood rearing habitat for waterfowl and other water birds. A marked 10-mile auto tour allows visitors year round access to great wildlife viewing opportunities. The Refuge also has a number of photoblinds which are strategically situated for great early-morning photography.

Refuge Objectives:
  • Maintain habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive species.
  • Provide and enhance habitat for fall and spring migrant waterfowl.
  • Protect native habitats and wildlife representative of the natural biological diversity of the Klamath Basin.
  • Integrate the maintenance of productive wetland habitats and sustainable agriculture.
  • Ensure that the refuge agricultural practices conform to the principles of integrated pest management.
  • Provide high quality wildlife-dependent visitor services.
Significant Species:
  • American bald eagle
  • Golden eagle
  • American white pelican
  • White-faced ibis
  • Snow, Ross’, white-fronted, & Canada geese.
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Pintail, mallard, gadwall, canvasback
  • Western & eared grebes
  • Black tern
  • Tri-colored blackbird
Current Issues of Concern:
  • Loss of wetlands. The Klamath Basin has lost 80% of its original wetlands
  • Degraded water quality.
  • Water quantity during drought years (balancing wildlife needs with basin agricultural demands). Water rights adjudication.
Public Use:
Ongoing Management Activities:
  • Extensive wetland/cropland rotation scheme.
  • Implementation of a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management Program on commercial lease lands.
  • Maintenance of an extensive water conveyance infrastructure.














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Last updated: April 1, 2009