About Us

Ozark Cavefish National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1991 and is managed by the staff at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.

The 40 acre refuge was acquired to protect a federally threatened species, the Ozark cavefish. Turnback Creek Cave Spring is located on this property and is the outlet of an underground stream known to contain a population of the threatened Ozark cavefish. The Missouri Department of Conservation manages the 208 acre Paris Springs Access, which is adjacent to Ozark Cavefish National Wildlife Refuge. Another 1.3-acre parcel of the refuge is located along the Hearrell Spring in Neosho, Missouri. This parcel also contains a population of Ozark cavefish. It is adjacent to Neosho National Fish Hatchery. Both areas are closed to public access but there is an underwater camera installed at Hearell Springs. Visitors to Neosho National Fish Hatchery may have an opportunity to view a video image of this elusive species.

For more information call Mingo National Wildlife Refuge at 573-222-3589.

Our Mission

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.

Our Purpose

Every national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
was created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.

Ozark Cavefish National Wildlife Refuge protects essential habitat for the Ozark cavefish, gray bat and other unique species associated with Turnback Creek Cave. The area was acquired by purchase under authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Endangered Species Act establishes the purpose of the refuge to conserve fish or wildlife which are listed as endangered species or threatened species or plants 

The particular purpose noted in the environmental assessment pertaining to the acquisition of Turnback Creek Cave Springs was to ensure the biological integrity of this cave ecosystem that provides essential habitat for the threatened Ozark cavefish, the endangered gray bat and other cave-adapted amphipods, isopods, cave snails, pseudoscorpions, millipedes and other cave organisms.

Our History

1991 - Ozark Cavefish National Wildlife Refuge is established


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