Wildlife & Habitat

Marsh Wren - Promo Intro Large - 512 x 219

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide habitat for migratory birds. Estuary habitat is essential for migratory birds of every sort, and approximately 85% of estuarine habitat throughout Puget Sound has been destroyed by human encroachment and development; for this reason, protected lands like Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR are critical to the continued survival of migratory birds.  In addition to protecting waterfowl, the diversity of habitats that exist in a natural estuary also provide food for seabirds, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.  In order to improve habitat for the full range of species present, the Refuge restored 732 acres of estuary by removing over five miles of dike.

  • Birds

    Canada Geese in flight

    Over 200 species of bird visit the Refuge over the course of the year.  The concentrated diversity of habitats found on an estuary ensure visitation by large quantities of song birds, water fowl, raptors and shorebirds.



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  • Mammals

    muskrat feeding

    The numerous fresh water ponds and marshes of the Refuge produce a variety of emergent aquatic vegetation and are usually bordered by riparian areas.  These habitats attract all species of wildlife and are especially critical to the survival of many mammalian species.

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  • Amphibians & Reptiles

    frog - promo list - 150 x 118

    The rainy climate and local wetlands make Nisqually NWR an ideal environment for a variety of reptiles and amphibians.

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  • Fish

    salmon (coho) 150x118

    The Nisqually River hosts at least four species of salmonid.  These species depend on the mixed salinity water of the estuary as a transitional time before their journey upstream to reproduce.

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  • Endangered Species

    Peregrine Falcon 150x118

    Conservation of wildlife, fish and plant species that are endangered or threatened is a key goal of the National Wildlife Refuge System.  Many such species occur at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.  Our management practices take into account species listed by both State and Federal governments.

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  • Habitat

    heron on branches

    There is nothing more critical to the establishment of healthy animal communities than habitat.  At the Refuge, at least seven distinct natural habitats work together to create a richness of biodiversity rare even for the Pacific Northwest.

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