• Snow Goose

    two geese

    Fall and Spring migration can bring millions of Snow Geese to the refuge.  During the peak of their arrival the blue wetland is turned into a sea of white.  

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  • Massasauga Rattlesnake

    Massasauga closeup

    The western Massasauga rattlesnake is a Missouri State endangered species that is dependent on the habitats at Loess Bluffs NWR. The refuge is home to one of at least five remaining massasauga rattlesnake populations in the state.  Snakes are 20-25 inches long, light grey to light brown in color with dark brown spots down the center of the back.  Massasauga rattlesnakes are found in the bottomland prairie associated with wetlands. The refuge has the largest population in the state.  Declining population numbers can be contributed to habitat loss and people intentionally or accidentally killing the reptile.

  • Loess Bluffs

    Loess hill

    The refuge is home to the rare loess bluffs lining the Missouri River floodplain. Loess, pronounced "luss," is ancient, wind-blown glacial soil. These bluffs support remnants of Missouri's native prairie, including Indian grass, big bluestem, blazing star, compass plant, yucca, beard-tongue, and skeleton plant. The refuge upland habitat, made up of these hills, makes up almost 700 acres of refuge land. A loop trail climbs 200 feet on rock steps to the top of the bluffs for a panoramic view of the refuge.