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Ozark Plateau
National Wildlife Refuge

Bats in Oklahoma are insect eaters.  Most only measure three inches in length with wingspans of about 10 inches.
16602 CR 465
Colcord, OK   74338
E-mail: Shea_Hammond@fws.gov
Phone Number: 918-326-0156
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Ozark Plateau NWR encompasses caves that are the maternity sites for Ozark big-eared bat and offer protection to the gray bat.
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Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge

The Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1986 to help assure the continuing existence, and aid in recovery of federally listed endangered and threatened Ozark cave species [Ozark big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens), gray bat (Myotis grisescens), Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), and Ozark cavefish (Amblyopsis rosae)]; reduce the need for future listing of species of concern in the Ozarks; protect large continuous stands of Ozark forest essential to migratory interior forest birds; provide important environmental educational opportunities identifying the need for protecting fish and wildlife and other karst resources of the Ozarks. The Refuge consists of nine management units in Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, and Ottawa Counties totaling about 4,200 acres in the Ozarks of eastern Oklahoma. It is managed though an ecosystem or landscape approach that provides long term habitat protection needed to prevent the extinction and aid in recovery of these federally listed species. Ecosystem management also provides quality habitat for a number of other fish and wildlife resources dependant on forests, streams, springs, caves, wetlands, and ground water recharge areas characteristic of the karst topography of the Ozarks. It considers a number of interrelated issues and has been developed over the past 25 years through strong partnerships with private landowners, conservation organizations, tribes, and other state and federal agencies.

Nestled in 100 acres of lush Ozark forests, the refuge headquarters is located north of Colcord, Oklahoma at the Mary and Murray Looney Education and Research Center (MMLERC). Newly renovated, the MMLERC provides unique research opportunities for graduate students, academic professionals, and agency personnel focusing on karst resources in the Ozarks. By appointment, the refuge offers limited public use for non-profit organizations, universities, tribes, school programs, and citizen science programs focusing on science, research, nature connection, and place-based education in the Ozarks. Groups interested in hosting and/or participating in such programs at the MMLERC should contact the refuge headquarters for a schedule of upcoming events and availability.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The primary mission of the Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge is to assure the continuing existence, and aid in the recovery of federally listed Ozark cave species. The refuge manages approximately 4,200 acres of mature Oak/Hickory hardwoods. These areas contain major hibernation and maternity sites for the federally endangered Ozark big-eared bat and grey bat. By taking an ecosystem approach to forest management and utilizing techniques such as controlled fire, the refuge protects not only fragile cave ecosystems, but also protects water recharge areas vital for blind cavefish, cave crayfish, amphipods and isopods, and salamanders inhabiting the caves. In addition, ecosystem management also ensures that the primary food sources, such as moths and aquatic insects, for the Ozark big-eared bat and grey bat remain plentiful.

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The refuge is closed to the public. Use of the Mary and Murray Looney Education and Research Center is available by appointment.

Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
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