Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice
Although most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we encourage you to:

  • Check local conditions on this website and call ahead for current information
  • Follow current CDC safe practices by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Most importantly, stay home if you feel sick


  • Hiking Trails

    Trails are open year round. Seasonal Trails are open from April 1 - September 15. All trails are closed Nov. 21-22 and 30-Dec. 4.

    Ottawa NWR Trail Map

  • Current Refuge Closures

    In keeping with guidance from the CDC, we have closed the visitor center, and wildlife window.

    Learn More

  • Hunting Along Field

    New Hunting Opportunities

    The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is opening additional acres to hunting.

    Learn More

  • Artist-in-Residence

    Professional artists are invited to share their discipline while surrounded by nature. Email for an application.

    Artist-in-Residence Flyer


New H2Ohio Incentive Program Helps Improve Water Quality


As part of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s H2Ohio initiative, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering a new incentive program to encourage farmers to aid in conservation and improve water quality. ODNR will be accepting applications for its Water Quality Incentive Program (WQIP) from Dec. 1, 2020 through Jan. 29, 2021. “Improving Ohio’s water quality is incredibly important,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Giving farmers an incentive to participate in this conservation process is another step toward clean water for future generations.” The new program is being offered in combination with the Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). CREP is a USDA conservation program that offers farmers and landowners financial compensation for taking cropland out of production and establishing conservation practices. The H2Ohio Water Quality Incentive Program will offer a one-time payment of $2,000 per acre for new Lake Erie CREP wetlands and forested riparian buffers (buffer strip with trees) to help improve water quality in the Lake Erie watershed. Wetlands and riparian buffers act as filters to reduce nutrient loading into waterways and help reduce flooding. Riparian buffers also stabilize streambanks to reduce soil erosion. “This program gives farmers a unique opportunity to benefit the environment and themselves,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “The program will let farmers boost Ohio’s environmental health while receiving fair compensation.” To qualify for the H2Ohio Water Quality Incentive Program, interested farmers and landowners must be eligible for CREP and submit an H2Ohio WQIP application during the announced sign-up period prior to their CREP contract approval. Applicants do not have to sign up for CREP prior to applying for the H2Ohio WQIP. However, if the applicant is approved for the WQIP, an approved CREP contract will be required to receive the WQIP payment. Applications will be scored and selected based on criteria to prioritize the best projects to improve water quality. For qualifying criteria click here. Farmers interested in more information can contact ODNR technical staff for additional program details, project planning assistance, and help with the application process. To contact an ODNR representative in your area click here. The new incentive program is one of several H2Ohio efforts currently underway by ODNR including the Forder Bridge Project in Paulding County, the Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve in Seneca County, the St. Joseph Confluence Reconnection in Williams County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, and the new wetland area east of the Andreoff Wildlife Area in Wyandot County. H2Ohio is Governor Mike DeWine’s initiative to ensure safe and clean water in Ohio. It is a comprehensive, data-driven approach to improving water quality over the long term. H2Ohio focuses on encouraging agricultural best management practices, restoring, and enhancing wetlands, and replacing home septic systems to reduce nutrients that contribute to harmful algal blooms. For more information on the H2Ohio initiative, please visit or contact Jeff Finn, Private Lands Biologist at 419-206-1577 or

Time is running out to apply press release

Wildlife Drive Dates


Enjoy the refuge from the comfort of your car! This seasonal road is only open on specified dates and departs from the visitor center entrance road. Upcoming dates are December 19 and 20, January 16, 17, February 20, 21, March 20, 21, April 17, 18, 30, May 1-16, 29, 30, 31 and each weekend June - September if the weather cooperates, the wildlife drive will not be open in October and November. Gates open at sunrise and close one hour prior to sunset. These are the dates that we plan to open the Wildlife Drive. Nature may, and often does, have other plans. The roads that we drive on are on top of dikes that are used to control all of the water levels in the refuge wetlands. Soft roads with heavy traffic will cost a lot of money in repairs. We also have a significant chance of flooding this spring. For the safety of our visitors as well as to protect the road conditions we will close the road if there is water across it. Please check social media to learn the status of the wildlife drive before traveling a long distance. We update here but current circumstances cause delays in updating the website.

Hunting Opportunities

Hunting Opportunities

Small mallards

If you have been selected for a controlled hunt or are looking for public hunting opportunities on refuge property please follow the link below to access additional information about your hunt.

Hunting Information

Partners for Fish and Wildlife

Partners for Fish and Wildlife

Wetland Restoration

The Partners for Fish & Wildlife program works with private landowners to improve fish and wildlife habitat on their lands. We are leaders in voluntary, community-based stewardship for fish and wildlife conservation. The future of the nation’s fish and wildlife depends on private landowners – more than 90% of land in the Midwest is in private ownership. Providing more high quality habitat not only helps wildlife - by contributing to a healthy landscape, you create a conservation legacy to pass on to future generations. Partnerships are the key! To accomplish this work, we team up with private conservation organizations, state and federal agencies and tribes. Together, with the landowner, this collective shares funding, materials, equipment, labor and expertise to meet both the landowner’s restoration goals and our conservation mission.

Learn More

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