• Birding Notice

    You may have noticed the lack of water along the Wildlife Drive at Monte Vista NWR. Please click on the link to learn why.

    Learn More about the lack of water

  • 218x116_SandhillWhoopingCranes

    Sandhill Crane Migration

    Approximately 23,000 - 27,000 Sandhill Cranes migrate biannually (peak Mid-March and Mid-October) through the San Luis Valley.

Refuge News

Cooperative Agriculture Opportunity

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, in south central Colorado, is accepting bids for its cooperative agriculture program. Producers, for a period of five years will have about 46 acres to produce alfalfa to harvest and 85 acres of barley to leave standing for wildlife use. For information on the application process and details on the agriculture program, please contact Refuge Manager, Suzanne Beauchaine at (719) 588-3473 or (Suzanne_Beauchaine@fws.gov) or visit the refuge website. Applications must be received by 3 p.m. Friday, April 19, 2019.

2019 Cooperative Agriculture Opportunity

Burning for the Birds

November 24, 2017 194x116RxBurnMV-ShorebirdsDuringTheBurn

On October 24, 2017 partners from several agencies came together to conduct a prescribed burn on Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge staff works to provide healthy wetlands and plants for all wildlife. Old plants build up a thick layer of litter and let weeds get out of control. Using fire to remove that build up helps native plants get the upper hand. Along the trail and wildlife drive it’s hard to miss where we burned. Next spring this area will warm up quickly providing plants, insects and places to rest for migrating birds like Sandhill Cranes and several species of ducks.

2017 Prescribed burn on Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

Planning for the Future

The Refuges of the San Luis Valley are in the planning phases of its Comprehesive Conservation Plan, a document that will guide the management activities for the next 15 years. Completion is slated for early 2015. Check this page for any updates.

Learn about the Planning Process

History of the San Luis Valley

Humans have inhabited the San Luis Valley for over 12,000 years. Their uses of the land reflect both the traditions of those who moved to the Valley and local adaptations. Over thousands of years numerous groups lived in the Valley or passed through on their way to surrounding lands. By the late Sixteenth Century, early Spanish explorers were later joined by other European settlers and the Valley was soon transformed by agriculture, ranching, transportation, water projects and the growth of towns.

More about the history of the San Luis Valley
Friends of the San Luis Valley Refuges

Friends of the San Luis Valley Refuges

The Friends of the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuges is a non-profit group dedicated to promoting awareness of the three Refuges though education and support.

More about the Friends of the San Luis Valley Refuges

About the Complex

San Luis Valley Refuge Complex

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the San Luis Valley Refuge Complex.

Read more about the complex
About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS