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National Wildlife Refuge

Photo collage of Missisquoi River, Environmental Education, Black Tern, Great Blue Heron Rookery
29 Tabor Rd.
Swanton, VT   05488
E-mail: missisquoi@fws.gov
Phone Number: 802-868-4781
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Missisquoi Refuge is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain near the Canadian border. This 6,729 acre refuge provides habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
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Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1943, is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain near the Canadian border in Franklin County, Vermont. This 6,729 acre refuge includes most of the Missisquoi River delta where it flows into Missisquoi Bay. The refuge consists of quiet waters and wetlands which attract large flocks of migratory birds. Upland areas of the refuge are a mix of open fields and a hardwood forest of American elm, white ash, white oak, silver and red maple. Both of these areas provide habitat for migratory songbirds, resident mammals and other wildlife.

Missisquoi refuge is one link in a chain of refuges for migratory birds that extends along the Atlantic Flyway between northern breeding grounds and southern wintering areas. The refuge provides important feeding, resting and breeding habitat for migratory birds, especially waterfowl, in the northern Lake Champlain section of the flyway.

Refuge lands also protect the Shad Island great blue heron rookery, the largest colony in Vermont. The refuge is open daily from dawn to dusk.

Getting There . . .
Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge headquarters office and visitor center is located about 6 miles northwest of Swanton, off Route 78, on Tabor Rd. From I89, take Exit 21 and turn west on Route 78. Follow Route 78 west for about 1.5 miles to the intersection of Route 78 and US Route 7 at the Swanton town square. Turn right and follow Route 78 west for another 6 miles and look for the West Swanton Apple Orchard on your right. Just past the orchard, turn left on Tabor Rd. Refuge headquarters is on the left. A refuge entrance sign is located at the corner of Route 78 and Tabor Rd. and is visible from Route 78.

From the West, take Exit 42 off of I87 and turn right onto US Route 11 and follow for about 6 miles. Turn right onto US Route 2/Bridge Rd. and follow for about 7 miles. Turn left onto Vermont Route 78 and follow for 4.5 miles and look for Tabor Rd. on the right.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Refuge lands support a variety of wildlife species and habitats including floodplain forest, wetlands, shrub, bog, grasslands, and upland areas.

Lands are managed to provide and protect habitat for migratory birds, to preserve the natural diversity and abundance of plants and animals, to provide nesting structures for a variety of wildlife, and to control exotic species.

Federal wildlife laws and regulations are enforced to ensure the protection of habitat and wildlife.

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Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge was established on February 4, 1943, under the authority of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act for the protection of migratory birds. The initial acquisition in 1943 was 1582 acres of land in the Missisquoi River Delta, including Shad Island and Big Marsh Slough. Aditional parcels of land were acquired over the next 60 years, until the refuge reached its present size of 6,729 acres.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Maintaining a healthy diversity of habitats at Missisquoi refuge requires that a variety of habitat management practices be used.

Some examples of the management practices used to benefit wildlife at Missisquoi refuge include; manipulating water levels in refuge impoundments to encourage the growth of waterfowl food and cover plants; placing nesting structures throughout the refuge to help wood ducks, common goldeneyes, hooded mergansers and black ducks increase their numbers; haying, mowing and controlled burning to keep open field from changing back to forest; controlling exotic pest plants such as purple loosestrife and common reed grass; and trapping raccoons to control predation on waterfowl and other ground-nesting birds, muskrats to help protect waterfowl impoundment dikes from damage by their burrowing nature, and beavers to reduce flooding, erosion on dikes and plugging of managed water control structures.

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan

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