It's Our Birthday!

December 10, 2018
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Waubay National Wildlife Refuge is celebrating 83 years on December 10, 2018. 

Waubay National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a “refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.”  At the time the Dirty Thirties were in full swing and waterfowl populations dropped from an estimated 100 million in 1930 to 20 million in four short years.  Many believed it wasn’t enough to just stop the decline; if there was to be a future for waterfowl, production would have to increase and quickly. Three men were instrumental in making that happen and helping to create the Refuge System we have today: Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, Ira Gabrielson, and J. Clark Salyer.


Ding Darling is known as the father of the “Duck Stamp” which provides funds to protect habitat and create refuges like Waubay. Ira Gabrielson headed the Chief of Biological Survey (later became the US Fish & Wildlife Service) after Darling left and made science an important part of wildlife management. J. Clark Salyer crossed the nation buying habitat that was based on the flyway system and modern wildlife management principles.


With this auspicious beginning, Waubay became one of 22 refuges established in 1935. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) worked at many of these refuges building roads, dikes, towers, and other infrastructure, providing a lifeline for ducks and people during desperate times.


Today, Waubay NWR continues to provide habitat for waterfowl and other migratory and breeding birds and wildlife.  The tradition of the CCC also continues with our Youth Conservation Corps where local teens gain valuable work experience and learn about the conservation of our natural resources.  In addition, refuges like Waubay provide benefits to local economies through recreational spending and increased tax revenue as many visitors come from outside the local area.


 Celebrate YOUR National Wildlife Refuge!