What We Do
Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is a conservation leader in the Centennial Valley working to maintain, mimic, and where appropriate, restore natural processes to create and sustain native habitat for migratory fish and wildlife.
Management and Conservation
The ongoing conservation efforts at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge aim to provide habitat for breeding and staging migratory birds, native fishes, and both resident and migratory wildlife that maintains the biological diversity and integrity of this montane wetland system.
The Comprehensive Conservation Plan sets the direction for management and use of the Refuge, and includes the following major actions:
- Maintain high productivity in wetlands to benefit nesting and migrating trumpeter swans and other waterfowl.
- Restore two modified wetlands (32 acres) back to a free-flowing, historical spawning stream for the lower 48 states’ last known population of adfluvial Arctic grayling fish. (Adfluvial: lake inhabitant that breeds in a river.)
- Increase opportunities for environmental education and interpretation to better orient visitors to the values of the Refuge and the Centennial Valley.
- Provide and expand opportunities for quality hunting and fishing experiences while ensuring that trumpeter swans and other priority migratory birds have protected resting areas.
Comprehensive Conservation Planning
The purpose of a CCP is to specify a management direction for the Refuge for the next 15 years. The goals, objectives, and strategies for improving Refuge conditions, including the types of habitat we will provide, partnership opportunities, and management actions needed to achieve desired conditions, are described in the CCP. The Service’s preferred alternative for managing the Refuge and its effects on the human environment, are described in the CCP as well.
The Refuge System is managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Service is the primary Federal entity responsible for conserving and enhancing the Nation’s fish and wildlife populations and their habitats. Although the Service shares this responsibility with other Federal, State, tribal, local, and private entities, the Service has specific trust resource responsibilities for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, certain anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands, and other special aquatic habitats. The Service also has similar trust responsibilities for the lands and waters it administers to support the conservation and enhancement of all fish and wildlife and their associated habitats
To maintain the wilderness and the sense of solitude of the Refuge, facilities are minimized and limited to a Visitor Center with some exhibits on display, and two primitive campgrounds - one each at Upper and Lower Red Rock Lakes.
Our Projects and Research
Some of the recent and ongoing Refuge research projects include:
- Integrated restoration strategy for cheatgrass in landscapes
- Impacts of cheatgrass on sagebrush songbirds and their habitat
- Nesting ecology of trumpeter swans
- Breeding ecology of sage-grouse in southwestern Montana
- Restoration of sagebrush meadow habitats
- Linking beaver dam affected flow dynamics to upstream passage of arctic grayling winter survival, resource use, and hypoxia impacts to Arctic grayling in Upper Red Rock Lake
- Mountain camera trap surveys for carnivore inventory
- Willow browse surveys to assess effects of moose herbivory on willow community health
- Mountain bluebird nest box trail
- Invasive plant removal for enhanced wildlife habitat
- Aspen reforestation
Refuge staff includes Federal Law Enforcement as well as working closely with surrounding Federal, State, and Local Law enforcement agencies to help facilitate all visitors' quality experience while on the Refuge.