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Lake Ilo
National Wildlife Refuge

Framed between several trees, the sky turns a burnt orange color as the sun sets on Lake Ilo.
489 102nd Ave. SW
Dunn Center, ND   58626
E-mail: lakeilo@fws.gov
Phone Number: 701-548-8110
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Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge has long been a crossroads for both people and wildlife. Civilization in this area dates back 11,000 years.
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Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge

Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in the Missouri Slope region of western North Dakota, near the Killdeer Mountains. Established in the mid-1930s for migratory waterfowl, this unique Refuge encompasses slightly more than 4,000 acres and is home to approximately 226 bird species, 36 mammals, 9 reptiles/amphibians, and 11 different fish species.

Getting There . . .
The Lake Ilo NWR office is located 1 mile west and 1.5 miles south of Dunn Center, North Dakota. The office is on the south shore of the lake.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Thousands of migratory waterfowl can be seen and heard resting and feeding at Lake Ilo NWR each fall and spring.

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Prehistoric hunters and gatherers of the plains, referred to as Paleoindians, used the confluence of Spring Creek and Murphy Creek, now inundated by Lake Ilo, as a place to make tools and exchange goods more than 11,000 years ago.

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Management Activities
Lake Ilo NWR is managed primarily to provide waterfowl with the best nesting and brood-rearing conditions. Resident wildlife species also thrive under these same management techniques. Prescribed burning, livestock grazing, and mowing all help in removing dead plant matter from the uplands and allowing native plants to grow in taller, thicker stands.

Water levels at Lake Ilo are regulated to maximize opportunities for both migrating and nesting birds. Flooding and drawdowns of the lake are timed to stimulate plant growth, provide exposed mudflats for shorebirds, and to aid in maintaining the fishery that is established in the lake. By adjusting these water levels, different habitats can be provided not only for birds and fish, but for mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, such as butterflies, as well.