U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and
Wildlife Management Area

ducks on freshwater marsh with trees in background
510 1/2 West Morton St.
Oakland City, IN   47660
E-mail: patokariver@fws.gov
Phone Number: 812-749-3199
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Patoka River Refuge protects one of the most significant bottomland hardwood forests remaining in the Midwest.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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The Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area includes 30 miles of Patoka River channel, 19 miles of cut-off river oxbows, three miles of the South Fork Patoka River, and 12,700 acres of existing bottomland wetland habitat. The area is referred to by some biologists as a biodiversity factory.

A potentially new species of mud darter and a verified new species of burrowing crayfish were discovered in 2001. In November, 2003, two migrating whooping cranes from the newly introduced Midwest flock used the Patoka River Refuge as a resting area on their way south.

These new species are in addition to the 380 species of wildlife, including nesting bald eagles, the Federally endangered Indiana bat and the proposed threatened species, the northern copperbelly watersnake. At least 20 plant species and 63 animal species considered as threatened, endangered or of special concern by the State of Indiana live within the river valley.

Lying within the Southern Bottomlands and Southwestern Lowlands Natural Regions, the principal natural habitat in the Patoka River Refuge is bottomland forested wetland. These wetlands provide some of the most productive wood duck nesting and brood-rearing habitat in the State. They also support several nesting colonies of great blue herons. A few select areas of old growth forest maintain a healthy population of nesting cerulean warblers. These and other species of neotropical migratory songbirds thrive in this rich ecosystem.

The Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area is part of a Globally Important Bird Area due to the presence of the largest nesting colony of Federally endangered interior least terns east of the Mississippi River. This area is being restored with 193 acres in four shallow wetland units and a 60-acre pool with two nesting islands to provide protected sites for the terns.

The White River Bottoms Wildlife Management Area has been restored from agricultural fields by being planted to bottomland hardwood trees.

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