Imperial National Wildlife Refuge was established by Executive Order 8685 on February 14, 1941. The 25,768-acre refuge protects 30 miles of wildlife habitat along the lower Colorado River.
In 1938, Imperial Dam was completed on the river north of Yuma, Arizona. The waters stored behind the dam formed numerous backwaters and marsh areas along the edges of the river. These wetlands provided excellent resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for a variety of migratory birds and other wildlife. Serving as a boundary between Arizona and California, this portion of the river includes the last un-channelized section before its waters enter Mexico. The river and its associated backwater lakes and wetlands are a green oasis and a significant contrast with the surrounding desert mountains.
Imperial National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect these wetland habitats. It includes more than 15,000 acres of federally designated wilderness and is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters set aside for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and you.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. Refuges are special places where wildlife comes first. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
Imperial National Wildlife Refuge was established February 14, 1941 by Executive Order 8685 as a refuge and breeding area for migratory birds and wildlife.The refuge “…is subject to their use for the purposes of the Colorado River Storage Project.”
February 14, 1941 - Imperial National Wildlife Refuge was established by Executive Order 8685 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge “…is subject to their use for the purposes of the Colorado River Storage Project.”
1990 - Public Law 101-628 designated 9,220 acres in Arizona asand named it “Imperial Refuge Wilderness.”
1994 - Public Law 103-433 designated and added 5,836 acres in California to the Imperial Refuge Wilderness.
Other Facilities in this Complex
Imperial National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge Complex.