Trumpeter swan nest at Union Slough NWR
Auto Tour Route reopens Aug 1st - Sept 20th!

The Auto Tour Route is currently closed for the nesting season.  It will reopen from August 1st through September 20th for you to see swan cygnets, sandhill crane colts, ducklings and other babies the Refuge produced during the nesting season!

Union Slough is all that remains of a pre-glacial riverbed. Actually, the area is a connection point, or union, between two watersheds - the Blue Earth River of Minnesota and the east fork of the Des Moines River. Before European settlement, the area was so level that the wind determined which way the slough flowed. Established in 1938 as a migratory waterfowl refuge, Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge provides critical habitat for native prairie and wetland wildlife in a landscape dominated by intensive agriculture.

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National wildlife refuges offer the outdoor enthusiast an opportunity to escape from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with nature. Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge has excellent ways for outdoor enthusiasts to connect with the natural world.

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      Our Species

      More than 240 species of birds have been seen on Union Slough National Wildlife Refuge, with more than 100 species known nest on the refuge. The refuge is the epicenter of trumpeter swan nesting in Iowa. Federally threatened prairie bush-clover and state endangered Blanding’s turtles are found on the refuge.