Nestled beside the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, this 2,774 acre refuge provides diverse habitats for a large variety of wildlife including moose, elk, deer, bear, otter, bald eagles, and migratory waterfowl such as mallards, northern pintail, and teal. Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge is located in Idaho's Panhandle approximately 20 miles south of the Canadian border and 5 miles west of Bonners Ferry, Idaho.
Established in 1964 as a migratory waterfowl refuge, Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for more than 220 species of birds, 45 species of mammals, and 22 species of fish. Wetlands, meadows, forests and cultivated agricultural fields (for producing valuable wildlife food crops) are interspersed in the valley bottom adjacent to the west banks of the Kootenai River.
Wetlands include open-water ponds, seasonal cattail-bulrush marshes, tree-lined ponds and rushing creeks. The western portion of the refuge ascends the foothills of the scenic Selkirk Mountains which consists of dense stands of coniferous trees and tranquil riparian forests.
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.
June 24, 1964—Migratory Bird Conservation Commission approved 2,767.21 acres for acquisition of land for the creation of Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge to provide feeding and breeding grounds for migratory birds.
August 31, 1964--The first 117.19 acres of the Refuge were purchased from Arthur W. Hart in accordance with the Migratory Bird Conservation Act.
1965-1985--The remaining Refuge tracts were purchased under the acquisition and funding authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act.
Other Facilities in this Complex
The Inland Northwest National Wildlife Refuge Complex includes three National Wildlife Refuges, several subunits, and conservation easements in northeastern Washington and northern Idaho. The refuges, Turnbull, Little Pend Oreille and Kootenai, are managed as a complex, sharing common work priorities, budgets, and some staff. Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge serves as the complex headquarters. Turnbull, located just outside Cheney, Washington, is a 2-3 hour drive from Little Pend Oreille and Kootenai Refuges, respectively.
Despite common management oversight, each of the three complex refuges is unique.