U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

Young ducklings sit in a grassy nest lined with their mother's downy feathers.
3275 11th St. NW
Coleharbor, ND   58531
E-mail: audubon@fws.gov
Phone Number: 701-442-5474
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The prairie pothole region provides vital waterfowl breeding habitat.
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Audubon National Wildlife Refuge

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in west-central North Dakota and is part of a landscape marked by numerous wetlands or "potholes" that remained after glaciers melted more than 10,000 years ago. This landscape is commonly called the "Prairie Pothole Region." The Prairie Pothole Region extends into Canada, Minnesota, western Iowa, South Dakota, and eastern Montana. The Refuge encompasses 14,735 acres of native prairie, planted grasslands, and wetlands. These lands are managed to provide food, water, shelter, and space to meet the needs of waterfowl and other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and resident wildlife. The Refuge is home to 243 bird, 34 mammal, 5 reptile, 4 amphibian, and 37 fish species.

Getting There . . .
The Audubon office and visitor center is located 3 miles north of Coleharbor, North Dakota on U.S. Highway 83 and 1 mile east.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Thousands of waterfowl, sandhill cranes, and shorebirds pass through the Refuge during spring and fall migration.

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On May 25, 1956, Snake Creek NWR was established after construction of the Garrison Dam was completed across the Missouri River.

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Management Activities
Although Audubon NWR is managed primarily for waterfowl, resident wildlife species also benefit from the food and cover produced through habitat management techniques. Neighboring landowners plant crops on the Refuge, leaving a portion for wildlife. Livestock grazing and haying of grasslands helps remove dead plant material to produce taller, thicker grass for improved bird-nesting habitat. Another important management tool is prescribed burning. Burning helps control weeds, stimulate plant growth, and increase soil nutrients.

Water management is important for Refuge wildlife. Using pumps and syphons, water is moved from Lake Audubon to fill wetlands that would otherwise be dry in drought years. These wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl broods, shorebirds, and other water birds, as well as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.