South of Cokeville, Wyoming, Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is centered around a 20-mile stretch of the Bear River Valley and its associated wetlands and uplands. Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge supports one of the highest densities of nesting waterfowl in Wyoming. These wetlands within the Bear River Valley provide excellent habitat for migratory and resident wildlife species.

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Wetlands within the Bear River Valley provide excellent habitat for a variety of migratory and resident wildlife species. The area was identified as the number one priority in the Bear River Focus Area Plan for the Inter-Mountain West Joint Venture. The Refuge supports one of the highest densities of nesting waterfowl in Wyoming, species including white-faced ibis, black tern, and numerous other marsh and shorebirds; provides excellent potential for reintroduction of trumpeter swans; and provides habitat for local resident wildlife such as sage grouse, mule deer, elk, and pronghorn.

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      Cokeville Meadows NWR wet meadow on a summers afternoon with a thunderstorm rolling in.
      Ku'i-o-ga or Bear River

      Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding lands are part of the ancestral homelands of the Shoshoni tribes. Crow bands also frequented the area as well, according to old trapper journals. The Bear River was known in the Goshiute dialect of the Shoshoni language as Ku'i-o-ga, ku'i-o'gwa, or Kwi'o-gwa. (Chamberlin, 1913 -taken from shoshoniproject.utah.edu) The Bear River or Ku'i-o-ga runs through portions of the refuge and supplies most of the water that irrigates the wetlands and wet meadow habitats of the refuge.