Skip Navigation

About the Complex

About the RefugeThe Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex is made up of the Sand Lake Refuge, located in Brown County and the Sand Lake Wetland Management District which is comprised of 8 north central SD counties.

Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The complex is comprised of the 21,498 acre Sand Lake Refuge and the Sand Lake Wetland Management District which consists of 45,742 acres of fee title Waterfowl Production Areas and approximately 700,000 acres of wetland, grassland and conservation easements.

Sand Lake Refuge was established by Executive Order in September 1935 as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge lies in the James River basin in north eastern South Dakota. This area is in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region and the refuge provides crucial habitat for migratory birds. Since its inception, the refuge has been designated as a "Globally Important Bird Area" and a "Wetland of International Importance". The refuge has supported the largest nesting colony of Franklin's gulls in the world (1994), as well as thousands of waterfowl, white pelicans, shorebirds, and other colonial nesting birds. Sand Lake refuge also provides excellent habitat for other resident South Dakota species like ring-necked pheasants and white-tailed deer.




Page Photo Credits — Mallard Sunset - Tom Koerner/USFWS
Last Updated: Jan 08, 2014
Return to main navigation