Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 560 refuges and 38 wetland management districts in the National Wildlife Refuge System-a network of lands set aside specifically for wildlife. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System is a living heritage, preserving wildlife and habitat for people today and for generations to come.

Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The Refuge provides fish and wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities, conserves endangered species, and protects cultural and natural resources.
2024 Grazing Opportunities

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Coleharbor, North Dakota has cooperative agriculture opportunities for grazing on 17 units totaling approximately 3,525 acres in McLean, Sheridan, Dunn, and Hettinger Counties for up to three years.  
The lands to be grazed are located at one of these North Dakota sites: Audubon Wetland Management District in Sheridan, McLean, and Hettinger Counties, and Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge in Dunn Center. The unit maps and list are shown below:
•    2024 Audubon Grazing List
•    Audubon WMD Grazing Units
•    Lake Ilo NWR Grazing Units
Grazing applications must be postmarked or received by 4:30 p.m. CST on February 26, 2024. Grazing applications may be submitted by email to kathy_baer@fws.gov, or by mail or in person at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, 3275 11th St NW, Coleharbor, ND 58531. To be considered, applicants must complete and submit this form:
•    2024 Audubon Grazing Application 
Successful grazing applicants will be selected through an open and competitive process. Applications will be scored and ranked using objective criteria described in the application form. All applicants will be notified by Thursday, February 29, 2024. Please also see grazing regulations:
•   2024 Audubon Grazing Regulations
For more information or to get an application, please contact Refuge Manager Kathy Baer at 701-442-5474 ext. 114 or kathy_baer@fws.gov.

Visit Us

National wildlife refuges are wonderful places to connect with the natural world. We invite you to enjoy wildlife observation, photography, hiking, and fishing opportunities on the Refuge.

Lake Ilo Park is located on the north shore of Lake Ilo and provides visitors with picnic tables, charcoal grills, litter receptacles, and a restroom.

Lake Ilo NWR Visitor Information Brochure

Location and Contact Information

      About Us

      Explore the history behind Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge from the first peoples’ use of the area, to dam construction, and its modern use as fish and wildlife habitat.

      What We Do

      Collecting Big Bluestem seeds for propagation

      The primary purpose of Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge is to provide nesting and brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl. However, Refuge staff use a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, enhance, or recover habitat for all wildlife on the Refuge. Refuge staff carefully use management tools such as livestock grazing, prescribed burning, noxious weed control, mowing, seeding, and water management. Sometimes, sensitive areas are closed to the public so that the land can recover more quickly.

      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 over 565 refuges and 38 wetland management districts spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

      A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
      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 Species

      The Refuge has 4,034 acres of native prairie, planted grasslands, and wetland habitat. These habitats provide a home for 227 bird, 36 mammal, 6 reptile, 3 amphibian, and 11 fish species.