Welcome to Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge! Located in South Dakota, these lands and waters are vitally important to the nation’s migratory bird populations – waterbirds and songbirds nest here in great numbers.

Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you Recreate Responsibly.

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information.
  • Operations vary based on local public health conditions.
  • Consistent with CDC recommendations, people who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and follow CDC guidance on how to protect yourself and others.

Visit Us

This 5,639-acre refuge includes Lake Andes, a 4,700-acre lake created by the last ice age. Each spring and fall, thousands of waterfowl and other waterbirds migrate through this region, taking advantage of the nutritious food found in the wetlands. In addition, many waterfowl find the combination of grasslands and wetlands on this landscape ideal for nesting and raising their young.

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge is a place of wetlands, grasslands, and riverside forests. During spring and fall migrations, clouds of waterfowl and shorebirds darken the sky. Because of its tremendous value to waterfowl and other migratory birds, President Franklin Roosevelt established Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge with a Presidential Executive Order in 1936. Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge is somewhat unique as a refuge because most of the lake bottom is owned by the State of South Dakota. However, the State has granted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the authority to manage water levels and maintain habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

      What We Do

      Wildlife conservation is at the heart of the National Wildlife Refuge System. To provide high quality migratory bird habitat on the Owens Bay area of Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge, staff intensively manage water levels. 


      Our Organization

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      Our Library

      Projects and Research