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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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Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Wildlife Management Area

Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area is located in southwestern Indiana within the historically important north-south flyway of the Wabash River Basin. This river bottoms refuge is strategically located to provide important resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and neotropical songbirds.

Established in 1994, as the 502nd national wildlife refuge in the country, the refuge currently contains 5,587 acres. Its proposed boundary stretches for 20 miles as the crow flies in an east-west direction along the lower third reach of the 162-mile-long Patoka River. When completed, the 22,083 acres will consist of 6,800 acres of national wildlife refuge and 15,283 acres of contiguous wildlife management area.

Two outlying wildlife management areas (WMAs) are also managed out of the Patoka River Refuge headquarters. The 463-acre Cane Ridge WMA lies 24 miles to the west of Oakland City. This Wabash River bottoms property lies off the southwest corner of the 3,000-acre Gibson Lake. The 219-acre White River Bottoms WMA lies nine miles to the north of Oakland City. This river bottoms property lies just to the northwest of Petersburg on the south side of the White River.

Getting There . . .
Located in the counties of Pike and Gibson, the refuge is 30 miles north of Evansville by way of State Road 57. It is adjacent to the small towns of Oakland City along State Road 64 and Winslow on State Road 61. The refuge headquarters is located on the west side of Oakland City on the south side of State Road 64.

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Wildlife and Habitat

The area represents one of the most significant bottomland hardwood forests remaining in the Midwest.

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Flowing 162 miles through four counties in southwestern Indiana, the Patoka River represents a classic meandering midwestern stream.

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Management Activities
The primary management focus on the refuge is to enhance diversity within existing forests and re-forest over 6,000 acres so that, when all land acquisition is complete, approximately 75% of the refuge will be forested.

Bottomland restoration will also include creation of approximately 1,000 acres of shallow wetlands distributed across the refuge area in several clusters of five or more wetlands. These sites will be scattered to spread out waterfowl and shorebird use and to take advantage of the flat, open areas now drained for crop production.

Management of existing woodland habitat adjacent to the 19 miles of old cut-off river oxbows will focus on providing mast-producing trees, such as oaks; buttonbush edges; and trees for cavity-nesting birds within a half-mile of the wetland. The emphasis will be on enhancing nesting and brood-rearing habitat for wood ducks and neotropical songbirds.

Upland areas will be restored to forest and approximately 1,000 acres of prairie and old-field habitat for upland species of wildlife. Cropland will be reduced from 7,800 acres to 250 acres of food plots.

Special efforts are being made to provide ideal nesting habitat for the Federally endangered interior least tern on the Cane Ridge Wildlife Management Area. This is a Globally Important Bird Area.