Meadow Habitat


Arapaho NWR's meadow habitat includes 2,683 acres of grasslands and irrigated wet meadows.

These fields provide the majority of the nesting habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds. Water is diverted from the Illinois River and directed through a complex series of ditches to irrigate meadows and fill ponds. Meadow habitats represent common feeding, resting, and loafing areas for birds and mammals on the Refuge. Vegetation includes a combination of sedges, rushes, grass species and forbs. Cattle grazing is a management tool used on the Refuge’s meadow lands to reduce the dead vegetation and improve nesting and foraging habitat for a variety of animals. Wildlife species that use the meadow habitat include waterfowl such as northern pintail, northern shoveler, gadwall, and green-winged teal. Greater sage-grouse broods use these areas to forage for high-protein invertebrates and forbs. Excellent nesting habitat is provided for snipe broods and other grassland nesting songbirds. A variety of mice, voles and shrews make their home here and offer an abundant food source for coyotes, owls, and hawks. In all seasons, irrigated meadows offer prime forage for elk, mule and white-tailed deer.