Established as a sanctuary for migratory birds on May 25, 1960, Ouray National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Colorado Plateau within the upper Colorado River drainage area. The Refuge stretches along 16 miles of the Green River, 120 river miles downstream of Flaming Gorge Dam. The area offers great variety, as well as a touch of mystery. Its habitats include lush bottomland areas along the Green River; high elevation upland benches containing grasslands interspersed with low shrubs; barren, highly eroded, clay bluffs on the slopes of upland benches; and alkali flats between the upland terraces and floodplains. The Green River provides a ribbon of life through a desert environment that receives only seven inches of precipitation a year. Temperatures may range from a low of -35 degrees F in winter to over 100 degrees F in summer. Long stretches of dry weather may be broken by monsoon rains or substantial snowfall. The quiet stillness of winter is contrasted by the spring chorus of migrating birds and resident frogs. Amidst surrounding development, the Refuge provides an island of calm and an opportunity to experience the wonders of nature.
The Green River andwoodlands that occur along its banks provide vital water, food, and shelter for many wildlife species that otherwise could not survive in the harsh surrounding environment. Whether you’re seeking a chance to view numerous wildlife and plant species, an opportunity to hunt and fish, spectacular scenery for photography, or simply a place for a quiet walk in the woods, Ouray National Wildlife Refuge offers all this and more.
The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management and, where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
Other Facilities in this Complex
Ouray National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Lower Green River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The Complex includes Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge and several Green River wetland easement parcels.