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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


July 15, 2004


Bryan Schultz  402-468-4313                                                                  Barb Perkins 303-236-4588


Public Invited to Visit Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge during Lewis and Clark National Signature Event


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge, located 3 miles east of Fort Calhoun, welcomes the public to view a 55-foot replica of the keelboat used by Lewis and Clark during the bicentennial commemoration July 31 – August 3.  The keelboat, which will be anchored on the Boyer Chute waterway, will only be accessible by land through the Refuge. 

Free shuttle buses will be provided from Fort Atkinson State Historical Park’s Signature Event Site in Fort Calhoun to the Refuge every 20 minutes, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on July 31, noon – 6 p.m. on August 1, and 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on August 2 and August 3.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees will provide interpretive talks during the shuttle ride.  Because of limited parking space, private vehicles will not be allowed on the Refuge, except for handicapped access.  All boats and watercraft are prohibited in the Boyer Chute waterway; therefore, no site access will be allowed from the Missouri River. 

Friends of Boyer Chute and Desoto National Wildlife Refuges will be staffing a booth with educational materials, refreshments, and merchandise.  While at the Refuge, visitors are encouraged to enjoy nature walks along two looped trails. 

The floodplain habitat in the Refuge allows birds to roost and nest – including raptors, wood ducks, kingfishers, and several species of concern. It also allows beaver, raccoon, opossum, and other mammals to prosper; and provides the privacy and seclusion along the water that herons, waterfowl, and other wildlife need. The Refuge also supports critical breeding habitat and a nursery for river fish species. 

The area that is now Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge was originally an island of sand and sediments deposited in the Missouri River by the Boyer River. Gradually, the Missouri River eroded channels (chutes) through the sediment. One of the major channels was Boyer Chute, named after the Boyer River, which in turn got its name from a settler who hunted and trapped in the watershed before the time of Lewis and Clark. Missouri River explorers, including Lewis and Clark, navigated through the area as they traveled up the river. 

In the centuries before European settlement in this area, the Missouri River had multiple, braided channels. During times of flooding, the river would change course suddenly and unpredictably across its wide floodplain. Natural meandering of the river moved it 3 miles eastward from the Fort Calhoun bluffs (site of historic Fort Atkinson) to its present location. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.


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