The Big Dry Arm Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve March Morning on the Platte River After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset
Refuge System - Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region
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Land Protection Plan

Baca National Wildlife Refuge Conceptual Management

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A playa lake at Baca National Wildlife Refuge.

A playa lake at Baca National Wildlife Refuge.

The conceptual management plan gives local landowners, neighboring governmental agencies, and the public a general understanding of the anticipated management approach for the Baca National Wildlife Refuge over the next 3–5 years. This includes how the Service will manage wildlife and their habitats, visitor services, and facilities, along with how we will coordinate with other agencies. Planning for a comprehensive conservation plan, a 15-year guiding document, is scheduled to start in 2011.

Part of the Alamosa/Monte Vista/Baca National Wildlife Refuge Complex, the refuge is in a high mountain basin, the San Luis Valley, in south-central Colorado.

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan in 2005.

Refuge Address

Baca National Wildlife Refuge
c/o Alamosa/Monte Vista/Baca
National Wildlife Refuge Complex
8249 Emperius Road
Alamosa, Colorado 81101

Refuge Telephone

719 / 256 5527

Refuge Email

Refuge Website

Baca NWR

  • Authorized by the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000, to comprise 92,500 acres.
  • Established in 2003 with the transfer of the 3,300-acre White Ranch from the Bureau of Reclamation. Increased by 53,500 acres from the Baca Ranch purchase made jointly by The Nature Conservancy and Department of the Interior in 2004; Federal buyout of The Nature Conservancy was in 2005.
  • Located about 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, near the town of Crestone, Colorado, in Alamosa and Saguache counties.

Habitats at Baca National Wildlife Refuge include wet meadows, playa basins, riparian corridors, grasslands, and semidesert shrub communities dominated by greasewood and rabbitbrush.

Water control structures on several streams distribute runoff from snowmelt into large meadows dominated by Baltic rush, sedges, and other wetland plants. The refuge is an important stopover for migrating sandhill cranes and hosts many waterbirds such as white-faced ibis, sora, Virginia rail, Wilson’s phalarope, and American avocet. A globally rare plant, the slender spiderflower, occurs in the transition zones between shrub land and grassland communities.

Baca National Wildlife Refuge is part of a large grouping of interconnected conservation lands—more than 500,000 acres—that includes the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Rio Grande National Forest, The Nature Conservancy’s Medano Ranch, San Luis Lakes State Park, and lands controlled by the Colorado State Land Board.

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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: November 14, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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