About Us

Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuge is located in northwest Mississippi, 4 1/2 miles south of the town of Crowder.  Established in 2000,  this refuge consists of 2,374 acres.  At the center of the refuge are 24 retired catfish ponds, ranging in size from 12 to 21 acres and totaling 497 acres.  These ponds are intensively managed for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds.  A majority of the refuge has been reforested in native bottomland hardwood species.  Almost all of this forested land is flooded annually during the winter and spring by backwater flooding.

Up to 10,000 migratory waterfowl winter on the refuge, and 34 species of shorebirds have been recorded during the spring and fall migration.  Peregrine falcons, least terns, black terns, bald and golden eagles, and wood storks have  been observed.  Due to intensive management, the refuge is critically important as a sanctuary for waterfowl and neotropical migratory birds.  For this  reason, the refuge is closed to public access except for an observation tower at the north end of the ponds.

Our Mission

Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System is established to serve a statutory purpose that targets the conservation of native species dependent on its lands and waters. Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuge, along with the other refuges within the North Mississippi Refuge Complex, was established with the main purpose of providing habitat needs for migratory birds, with an emphasis on waterfowl.  

“...for use as inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds,” and for conservation purposes, under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act 

Other Facilities in this Complex

Coldwater River NWR is managed as part of the North Mississippi Refuges Complex.