A northern harrier flying through the air and spreading its wings

Benton Lake NWR has approximately 240 species of birds, including 90 that nest here.

The refuge was established to protect and provide habitat for migratory birds that cross State lines and international borders and are by law a Federal trust responsibility.

The refuge is of great value to waterfowl and shorebirds, as well as other migrating water-dependent bird species, because of the diversity of wetland and upland habitats that provide for the diverse life cycle needs of these species.  Furthermore, the refuge has large, intact areas of native prairie that provide habitat for grassland birds that are one of the most imperiled groups of migratory birds nationwide.  In addition, the refuge serves as a valuable research site for the study of migratory birds, plant communities, and grassland and wetland management.