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

In the foreground, a large pond is surrounded by cattails.  Reflected in the pond are the rugged Bitterroot Mountains rising high above the valley floor.
4567 Wildfowl Lane
Stevensville, MT   59870
E-mail: leemetcalf@fws.gov
Phone Number: 406-777-5552
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
An oasis of glittering ponds and lush riparian habitat provide a fertile home for an abundance of wildlife.
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  Wildlife and Habitat

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The river course is dynamic because of spring flooding and channel erosion. A chain of ponds is located at the center of the Refuge; these ponds are managed to provide water for wildlife. Annual precipitation in the valley is only about 12 inches; however, water levels are maintained during arid summer months by a naturally high water table, flowing springs, and runoff from neighboring mountains.

The Refuge has proven to be an attractive home for a variety of wildlife. White-tailed deer are commonly seen feeding in the upland fields, along with ring-necked pheasants, Columbian ground squirrels, and coyotes. During the summer, osprey dive for fish while painted turtles soak in the sun and muskrats gnaw on cattails in the pond. Along the river, great-horned owls, pileated woodpeckers, and yellow warblers are commonly seen in the ponderosa pine trees.

The Refuge has an abundance of songbirds, waterfowl, and other waterbirds throughout the year, with peak populations during spring and fall migrations. Since 1990, a pair of bald eagles has nested on the Refuge each year. There are also great blue heron and double-crested cormorant rookeries on the Refuge.

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