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National Wildlife Refuge

3395 Route 5/20 East
Seneca Falls, NY   13148 - 9778
E-mail: andrea_vanbeusichem@fws.gov
Phone Number: 315-568-5987
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Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge lies at the north end of Cayuga Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. Located between Syracuse and Rochester, in Seneca and Wayne Counties, Montezuma serves as a major resting area for waterfowl and other waterbirds on their journeys to and from nesting areas in northeastern and east-central Canada.

Fall peaks of Canada geese reach over 60,000 birds; in spring this number has exceeded 100,000. Spring migration peaks of snow geese have recently exceeded 100,000 birds. Late fall use by mallards has exceeded 100,000 birds. Use by American black ducks in the fall often reaches 25,000.

Bald eagles have resided on the refuge since 1986, first producing offspring in 1987. Several pair of osprey also nest on the refuge. There are established nesting colonies of black terns, black-crowned night-herons, and great blue herons. Dewatered refuge impoundments provide significant foraging habitat for shorebirds during the late summer and fall.

Currently, the refuge consists of more than 8,000 acres as efforts to restore and preserve the marsh continue with the Montezuma Wetlands Complex. This project involves the Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, conservation organizations, corporations, and private landowners, all working together to restore and enhance wetland habitats and the populations of wetland-dependant wildlife on 36,050 acres of the former Montezuma Marsh. The Montezuma Wetlands Complex is part of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico that seeks to restore, conserve, and enhance wetland habitats and waterfowl populations throughout North America. The National Audubon Society recognized the Montezuma Wetlands Complex as its first Important Bird Area in New York, as well as a Globally Important Bird Area.

Getting There . . .
Driving Directions The refuge entrance is located on NY 5 & US 20 between Seneca Falls and Auburn and is just minutes from Exit 41 on the New York State Thruway. From exit 41, turn right onto NY 414. At the first stop light, turn left onto NY 318 and follow for approximately 5 miles to the end of NY 318. Turn left onto NY 5 & US 20 and follow for 1.25 miles; turn left into the refuge entrance.

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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.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is rich in wildlife.

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Carved by glaciers, the Montezuma Marshes were created, drained and restored.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
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Management Activities
In an effort to provide the greatest diversity of habitats, management activities primarily focus on water, grasslands, exotic species and public use. The refuge's recreated wetlands consist of diked pools of water. Water levels are manipulated in the refuge pools to create conditions that provide a mix of underwater plants, emergent vegetation, and open water. Summer or winter drawdowns (draining), gradual drawdowns and stress flooding are all water management regimes used at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

The goals of the refuge's grassland management program are to; 1) provide a diversity of field types, 2) reduce the encroachment of woody shrubs, and 3) encourage the growth of a variety of grasses. Common grassland management techniques include periodic mowing, prescribed burning and planting.

Numerous exotic species are found at Montezuma. Purple loosestrife is the exotic species that has had the greatest impact on the quality of habitats available at Montezuma. Current management of purple loosestrife primarily involves the use of biological control agents, weevils and beetles that are host-specific (feed and live exclusively on purple loosestrife). The goal of this biological control program is to establish the competitive balance between native plant species and purple loosestrife.

The public use program at Montezuma provides wildlife oriented educational and recreational opportunities compatible with refuge management objectives. Public use facilities and programs include the 3.5-mile Wildlife Drive, 2-mile Esker Brook Trail, .75-mile South Spring Pool Trail, Visitor Center, observation towers and platforms, fishing access sites, hunting programs, trapping program, educational programs and materials, guided tours and special programs. Exhibits, brochures, kiosks and programs are used to convey information to the public about the management activities and programs of the refuge as well as those of the Fish and Wildlife Service.