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Refuge System - Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region
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Comprehensive Conservation Plan

Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex—Montana

Refuge descriptions | The plan | Documents | Open / close all

Image of the plan cover with 5 Canada geese flying. Cover photograph of Canada geese © Craig Bihrle.

More than 10,000 American white pelicans nest in the refuge complex each year. Photograph © Judy Wantulok

This plan is for the following units of the refuge complex:

  • Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge
  • Northeast Montana Wetland Management District
  • Lamesteer National Wildlife Refuge

The comprehensive conservation plan sets the management and use of the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex for 15 years. Every spring and fall, the big sky country of northeastern Montana is filled with the clamor of bird calls. Many migrating birds stop at the refuge complex along the glaciated, rolling plains between the Missouri River and the Canadian border. With a bird list of more than 280 species, the refuge complex is one of the top 100 globally important bird areas in the United States, as designated by the National Audubon Society.

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan in 2007.


Refuge Complex Address

Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex
223 North Shore Road
Medicine Lake, Montana 59247


Refuge Complex Telephone

406 / 789 2305

Refuge Complex Email

medicinelake@fws.gov

Refuge Complex Website

Medicine NWR


Refuge descriptions »

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Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge
The purpose of the refuge is "to effectuate further the purposes of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act" and "as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife" (Executive Order 7148).

  • Established in 1935.
  • Comprises 31,660 acres, including the 11,360-acre Medicine Lake Wilderness.
  • Located near the town of Medicine Lake, Montana, in Sheridan and Roosevelt counties.

The refuge contains 22 natural and artificial lakes and managed impoundments. The rolling hills and sand dunes around Medicine Lake make up the most extensive sandhill formation in Montana. Year-round residents at the refuge include white-tailed and mule deer, coyote, badger, beaver, sharp-tailed grouse, and pheasant.


Northeast Montana Wetland Management District
The purpose of the Northeast Montana Wetland Management District is to provide breeding habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

  • Established in 1968.
  • Comprises 11,791 acres in 44 waterfowl production areas and 19,556 acres in grassland and wetland conservation easements.
  • Located in Sheridan, Daniels, and Roosevelt counties.


Lamesteer National Wildlife Refuge
The purpose of refuge is "as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife" (Executive Order 9166).

  • Established in 1942.
  • Is an 800-acre conservation easement.
  • Located 20 miles southeast of Wibaux, Montana, in Wibaux County.
  • Administered as a satellite refuge by Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 160 miles north.


The plan »

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The following are major actions in the comprehensive conservation plan for the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Northeast Montana Wetland Management District:

  • Conserve natural resources by restoring or protecting native, mixed-grass prairie while maintaining quality nesting habitat.
  • Focus visitor services funding on developing access for visitors of all abilities and improving opportunities for wildlife-dependent use.
  • Encourage a greater understanding and appreciation for migratory birds and other native wildlife, the mixed-grass prairie, the wilderness, and the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The plan's major action for Lamesteer National Wildlife Refuge is a proposal to remove the refuge from the National Wildlife Refuge System and relinquish the easement to the current landowners.


Documents »

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Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP)
CCP 2007 (51 MB PDF)

By low-resolution section, for faster download:
Approval, contents, summary (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, the refuge complex (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, refuge resources and description (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, management direction (1 MB PDF)
Appendixes (3 MB PDF)

Draft CCP and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 2007 (12 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents, summary (PDF)
Chapter 1, introduction (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, the refuge complex (4 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, alternatives (4 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, affected environment (5 MB PDF)
Chapter 5, environmental consequences (PDF)
Appendixes (PDF)

Planning process documents
Notice of availability of final CCP 2008 (PDF)
Notice of availability of draft CCP and EA 2007 (PDF)
Notice of intent to prepare a CCP 2007 (PDF)
Planning update 2006 (PDF)
Planning update 2 1998 (PDF)
Planning update 1 1998 (PDF)
Notice of intent to prepare a CCP 1998 (PDF)

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: January 24, 2017
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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