National Wildlife Refuge System

Scenic Views of Lostwood NWR Scenic Views of Lostwood NWR Scenic Views of Lostwood NWR Scenic Views of Lostwood NWR

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge


About Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge


Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge

Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 to provide refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge contains the largest contiguous block of federally owned native mixed-grass prairie in the geological feature known as the Coteau du Missouri, an area of rolling hills in the midst of the Great Plains. The refuge contains 26,904 acres of rolling grasslands, with limitless vistas and over 4,000 prairie wetlands of all types and sizes.

The area supports a large variety of wildlife and is especially suited for waterfowl and other water-dependent birds, such as grebes, rails, herons and shorebirds. The federally threatened piping plover (Charadriusmelodus) are found at Lostwood NWR. Lostwood NWR is located in northwestern North Dakota, shown in green in the map to the right.


Refuge Area and Class I Designation

  • In 1975, Congress designated 5,577 acres of the northern section of Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge as a wilderness area, declaring that the area should remain undeveloped and "unimpaired" for future generations.
  • In 1977, Congress acknowledged the uniqueness of the Lostwood Wilderness Area by designating it as a Class I air quality area. As a wildenress area it is afforded special protection under the Clean Air Act.
  • Congress gave the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as the Federal Land Manager of the Lostwood Wilderness Area, the responsibility to protect the air quality and air quality related values (AQRVs) of the area from man-made air pollution. Despite this protection, many sources of man-made air pollution affect Lostwood including power plants in both the U.S. and Canada, gas-processing plants, oil and gas wells, automobiles, and other mobile sources.
  • The FWS is working cooperatively with industry and the State of North Dakota to reduce air pollutant emissions and protect the air quality and AQRVs of Lostwood.
  • If Lostwood is not protected, unique wildlife and scenic values could be threatened or lost. The FWS hopes to preserve and protect this special area of wilderness for future generations.


Learn more about air quality at Lostwood


Pollutants from near and distant sources may combine to form haze that reduces visibility in the wilderness area. In addition, there is concern that wetlands and associated biota in the wilderness area are at risk from “acid rain” (i.e., acidic rain, snow, fog, and dryfall). The FWS has begun a program to better understand air pollution causes and effects at Lostwood, in partnership with the national Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) program. As part of this program, FWS operates a fine particle sampler that measures the pollutants in the air responsible for visibility impairment at Lostwood.

In addition, FWS has studied some of the wetlands and lakes within Lostwood to determine if they are affected by acidic deposition from certain emissions, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Within this website are the resources to discover why air pollution poses a threat to Lostwood NWR and what the FWS is doing to prevent the deterioration of this pristine area:

  • Learn the basics of air quality - Air Quality
  • Understand what are the air quality related values - AQRV
  • Learn about how air quality can affect natural and scenic resources - Impacts
  • Find real time monitoring data and studies being performed at the refuge - Studies & Monitoring



Addition Information:
Regional Air Quality Information (as provided by NPS)
Lostwood NWR Website
Lostwood NWR 300km Radius Map (PDF 140KB)

Last updated: November 13, 2012