U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2000.



Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
HC 69 Box 232
Randlett, Utah 84063


435 / 545 2522



Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge



The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of Ouray National Wildlife Refuge for 15 years. The refuge lies in the remote Uintah Basin of northeastern Utah. The refuge is one of the sparsely distributed wetlands along the Green River that provide much-needed habitat for birds migrating through the desert.

The purpose of the refuge is for "use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds"   (Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929).

  • Established in 1960.
  • Comprises 12,138 acres along 12 miles of the Green River.
  • Located 30 miles southwest of Vernal, Utah, in Uintah County.

The refuge protects riparian woodlands, bottomland wetlands, grasslands, semidesert shrub lands, clay bluffs, and cropland bordering the Green River. As it winds through the desert, the river feeds five refuge bottomlands—Johnson Bottom, Leota Bottom, Sheppard Bottom, Woods Bottom, and Wyasket Lake. This diversity of habitat types provides food and shelter for thousands of waterfowl, songbirds, and other wildlife that flock to the refuge.

The refuge hosts about 200 species of birds, along with a variety of mammals such as elk, mule deer, river otters, and prairie dogs. Several imperiled species use the refuge including four fish species: bonytail chub, humpback chub, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker. The Uinta Basin hookless cactus is a federally threatened species that grows in refuge uplands.

Major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan follow:

  • Restore and enhance riparian and wetland habitats for migratory birds that depend upon the Green River corridor. Remove human-made structures where feasible to restore natural conditions.
Image of the plan cover showing a black-necked stilt standing in a grassy nest with four eggs.

Plan cover showing a black-necked stilt tending its nest.

  • Minimize wildlife exposure to environmental contaminants on or adjacent to the refuge.
  • Conduct environmental education, interpretation, and compatible recreation to increase awareness of the refuge and its role in fisheries and wildlife management, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the region.

The greatest challenge in managing the refuge is determining the ecological potential of the area. Impoundments constructed in the refuge's floodplain and wetland habitats have changed natural conditions.


Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
CCP 2000 (8 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Plan (2 MB PDF)
Appendixes (6 MB PDF)

Draft CCP and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 2000 (5 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Plan (2 MB PDF)
Appendixes (4 MB PDF)