U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

3691 Sodhouse Lane
Princeton, OR   97721 - 9502
E-mail: Chad_Karges@fws.gov
Phone Number: 541-493-2612
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  Wildlife and Habitat

Continued . . .

Birds and other wildlife need several types of habitat for food, shelter, and raising young. Some species use Malheur just for nesting, while others use it as a stop-over during migration. Still others spend the winter here.

Water is the lifeblood of the refuge. Ponds, marshes, and lakes attract many species--trumpeter swans, ducks, pelicans, and grebes--who rely on these wetlands for food and safe nesting places. We use a series of dams, canals, levees, and ditches to ensure a good supply of water while birds are rearing their broods. We also raise or lower water levels to improve marsh soils, stimulate growth of plants, and control carp, which destroy plants that waterfowl use for food. Deep flooding drowns unwanted vegetation, creating areas of open water where broods feed and rest, safe from predators.

Meadows are important feeding areas for sandhill cranes, Canada geese, nesting waterfowl, and mule deer. To encourage growth of nutritious food needed by breeding birds, we mow, graze, or burn meadows to remove decadent plants and stimulate new growth. In spring, the sun thaws frozen soil, giving new plants a head start. Breeding waterfowl and cranes feed on early plant growth and invertebrates that live in the soil.

A riparian zone is the habitat that borders a river or stream. Plants that grow in these areas depend on a steady supply of fresh water. Scattered throughout the refuge are riparian zones dominated by willow. This habitat provides food, water, nest sites, and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife including many species of neotropical birds.

Common upland plants like sagebrush, greasewood, and Great Basin wildrye provide forage for deer and pronghorn antelope, and nesting sites for ducks, pheasants, sage thrashers, and quail. Uplands are periodically burned to encourage growth of native grasses for nesting.

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