U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 1999.



Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
c/o Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Hidden Timber Road
HC 14, Box 67
Valentine, Nebraska 69201


402 / 376 3789



Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Valentine National Wildlife Refuge



The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of Valentine National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years. Located in north-central Nebraska, the refuge lies in the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills, the largest sand dunes in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest grass-stabilized regions in the world. Refuge habitats are sandhill prairies (vegetated sand dunes), open-water lakes, wet meadows, shallow marshes, fens, and alkaline wetlands.

The purpose of the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge is to serve as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.

  • Established in 1935.
  • Comprises 71,516 acres.
  • Located near the city of Valentine in Cherry County, 30 miles south of the South Dakota border.

Lakes and wetlands on the refuge are important migration and breeding habitat for waterfowl and other waterbirds, as well as supporting native fish, amphibian, and reptilian species. In addition, songbirds find important migration and breeding habitat in uplands and wooded areas along the lakeshores. The sandhill prairies are excellent nesting habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds, and support many native mammals.

The refuge is known for its special areas and habitats. Two research natural areas—George Wiseman Natural Area and Natural Area 2—have a combined total size of 1,381 acres. The refuge is home to the endangered blowout penstemon, the threatened western prairie fringed-orchid, and possibly the endangered American burying beetle. In 1979, the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service designated Valentine National Wildlife Refuge as a national natural landmark.

Image of the plan cover showing a wetland covered with waterfowl.

Plan cover showing waterfowl using a refuge wetland.

Major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan follow:

  • Focus habitat management on special status species and other wildlife for which the refuge provides essential habitat.
  • Seek congressional designation of 15,809 acres (22 percent of the refuge) as wilderness.
  • Conduct a comprehensive cultural resources inventory.
  • Provide habitat for the needs of prairie-chicken and sharp-tailed grouse.


Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
CCP 1999 (3 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Plan (2 MB PDF)
Appendixes (2 MB PDF)

Draft CCP and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 1999 (1 MB PDF)