About Us

McLean National Wildlife Refuge is an important feeding and resting area for waterfowl migrating in the Central Flyway. The Refuge is located in northwestern McLean County, North Dakota, and is within the boundary of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The Refuge provides grassland habitat for sparrows, sharp-tailed grouse, fox, coyote and white-tailed deer; wetland habitat for shorebirds, gulls, terns, rails, and cranes; and island habitat for nesting ducks and Canada geese.

Our Mission

Each unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System is established to serve a purpose that targets the conservation of native species dependent on its lands and waters. All activities on those acres are reviewed for compatibility with this statutory purpose.

The McLean National Wildlife Refuge was established “…for use as an inviolate sanctuary, or for any other management purpose, for migratory birds.”

Located within the Central Flyway, the Refuge historically served as a foundation for the restoration of the nearly extirpated giant Canada goose population. Habitat managers strive to restore mixed-grass prairie and continues to provide quality migratory stopover and breeding habitat for birds of conservation concern.

Our History

Originally named Lake Susie Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, the Refuge was established on June 12, 1939 through Executive Order 8157 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt “as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife”. The Refuge consisted of 480 acres of limited-interest easement refuge, reserved as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The Refuge was later re-named McLean National Wildlife Refuge, with additional land being purchased in fee title. The Refuge now consists of 344 acres in fee title and 480 acres of limited-interest easement owned by the State Land Department.

A dam that was originally built in the 1930's, and reconstructed in 2002, creates the large wetland on the Refuge which is locally known as Lake Susie.

Other Facilities in this Complex

McLean National Wildlife Refuge part of the Audubon Wetland Management District.  The District manages an array of private and fee-title land held by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.