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Lee Metcalf
National Wildlife Refuge

In the foreground, a large pond is surrounded by cattails.  Reflected in the pond are the rugged Bitterroot Mountains rising high above the valley floor.
4567 Wildfowl Lane
Stevensville, MT   59870
E-mail: leemetcalf@fws.gov
Phone Number: 406-777-5552
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
An oasis of glittering ponds and lush riparian habitat provide a fertile home for an abundance of wildlife.
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Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge

Located along the meandering Bitterroot River and surrounded by the majestic Bitterroot and Sapphire mountain ranges, Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) offers spectacular viewing opportunities of the Montana landscapes and wildlife.

The Refuge was established in 1964 to provide habitat for migratory birds. The Refuge name honors the late U.S. Senator Lee Metcalf, who had a lifelong commitment to conservation. Senator Metcalf was a graduate of the local high school and was instrumental in the establishment of this refuge and many others in the United States.

Getting There . . .
Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge is located 25 miles south of Missoula, Montana, and 2 miles north of Stevensville. From I-90, take U.S. Highway 93 south about 30 miles to Stevensville. At the Stevensville cut-off road (269), turn east. Travel 1 mile to Eastside Highway 203 and turn east. Travel ΒΌ mile to Wildfowl Lane and turn north. The Refuge is 2 miles from the intersection.

The Refuge headquarters and Visitor Center are located along Wildfowl Lane, about 4 miles north from the exit of Eastside Highway onto Wildfowl Lane. A landscape feature to look for is, Pond 6; the offices border this pond to the east.

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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

The Refuge encompasses a narrow strip of riparian habitat along the Bitterroot River as well as a higher bench of upland habitat along the eastern boundary.

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According to tribal legends, Indian people have lived in the Bitterroot Valley since the dawn of time. The Salish people established their home here. When hunting bison, other tribes used the area as a main travel route between the western plateau and eastern plains.

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Management Activities
The Refuge's mission is to manage habitat for a diversity of wildlife species with an emphasis on migratory birds and endangered and threatened species and to provide people with the benefits associated with Refuge wildlife and wild lands. Located in the fastest growing county in Montana, Lee Metcalf NWR is one of a few remaining tracts of undeveloped land in the Bitterroot Valley.

A series of dikes and 13-water control structures hold and manage the water resources on the Refuge. Ten deep-water wetlands are managed for diving ducks, over-water cavity nesters, and fish-eating birds. Three other wetlands are managed for moist soil plant production, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The Refuge manages a mist netting and banding station during the summer months.

An integrated pest management program, which includes biological controls, is used to control noxious weeds on the Refuge. The Refuge cooperates with the University of Montana and the Ravalli County Weed Board to address noxious weed issues in the Bitterroot Valley. Prescribed fire is employed periodically to control noxious weeds, recycle nutrients, maintain open water in wetland areas, and maximize water flow in irrigation ditches. About 30 acres of Refuge are farmed through a cooperative agreement to provide food for migrating waterfowl and resident wildlife.