U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

National Wildlife Refuge

This rugged, isolated New Mexican landscape with a blooming cactus and storm clouds gathering makes Sevilleta NWR an intriguing refuge to visit.
P.O.Box 1248
Socorro, NM   87801
Phone Number: 505-864-4021
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.
Gray horizontal line
Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge
Located in the heart of New Mexico, 50 miles south of Albuquerque, Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is comprised of nearly 230,000 acres of diverse habitat. Established in 1973, Sevilleta NWR is a vast landscape that supports Chihuahua desert, Great-plains short grass prairie, Colorado shrub steppe and Pinon juniper woodlands. The largest river in the state, the Rio Grande, bisects New Mexico’s largest National Wildlife Refuge. Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge is truly unique and varied as the plant communities and wildlife it supports.

Getting There . . .
The Refuge headquarters is located off of Interstate 25, exit 169, approximately 50 miles south of Albuquerque.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

Your full starting address AND town and state OR zip code

Google Maps opens in a new window

NOTE: When using this feature, you will be leaving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service domain. We do not control the content or policies of the site you are about to visit. You should always check site policies before providing personal information or reusing content.

These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

horizontal line

Wildlife and Habitat

Deserts often surprise visitors with plenty of wildlife. Sevilleta is home to over 1200 species of plants, 89 species of mammals, 225 species of birds, 58 species of reptiles, and 15 species of amphibians.

Learn More>>

The land known today as Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge was part of the Sevilleta de La Joya ("The Jewel" in Spanish) Land Grant during Spanish rule. Roughly 70 men, women, and children settled onto the land and made their home there. As time passed and New Mexico became a part of the United States, the numerous Spanish Land Grants underwent changes. Some were sold, some towns dissolved, and others changed hands in a variety of ways.

Learn More>>

    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
Learn More >>

Management Activities
Management activities include removing exotic plant species, replanting native vegetation and constructing man-made impoundments and water control structures in order to restore native wetlands to their natural state. Salt cedar, an exotic plant introduced for erosion control, has invaded riparian areas of the Refuge. Currently, salt cedar is being cleared and these areas are being planted with cottonwood, coyote willow and black willow. Water manipulation is another important management tool at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Wetlands are flooded for short periods to irrigate vegetation and provide food for migratory waterfowl as they arrive in the fall. Fire management is also an important tool. Controlled burns allow Service staff to rejuvenate the vegetation and control some exotic plant species.

Mexican Grey Wolf Reintroduction Program

In 1995, Sevilleta NWR was selected to play a critical part in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. The main objective of this facility is to foster wild behavior in captive wolves by isolating them from contact with humans. Sevilleta NWR was chosen for its remote location, large size and relative inaccessibility. Wolves from this facility are eventually released to the wild in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.


Sevilleta NWR is host to the University of New Mexico's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program initiated in 1988. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program focuses on examining the ecological and biotic responses to seasonal, annual, and long-term climate changes. Scientists, researchers and students from around the globe vie to be awarded valuable research time at Sevilleta NWR with the LTER. Also, several research projects outside the LTER are usually underway on the Refuge.