U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

Lake Andes
National Wildlife Refuge

When in breeding plumage, the male ruddy duck is primarily rust-colored; has a stiff, black tail; and a bright blue beak.
38672 291 ST
Lake Andes, SD   57356
E-mail: LakeAndes@fws.gov
Phone Number: 605-487-7603
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Ruddy ducks are deep-water divers. Their long tail is an aid both in swimming and courtship displays.
Gray horizontal line
Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge

The Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex is comprised of Lake Andes NWR, Karl E. Mundt NWR, and Lake Andes Wetland Management District (WMD). The Complex headquarters is located on the east shore of Lake Andes.

Wildlife habitat on the Complex is extremely important to conservation of waterfowl, bald eagles, and grassland birds. The Complex occupies the southern portion of the Prairie Pothole Region - also known as the "Duck Factory." Many ducks rely on this habitat to successfully raise their young. The area also hosts migrant waterfowl populations in the tens and hundreds of thousands during peak fall and spring migration periods. The Karl E. Mundt NWR provides important habitat for 100-300 bald eagles. The Refuge protects one of the most critical bald eagle winter roosts in the country. Waterfowl and other ground-nesting birds also benefit from wetlands and grasslands protected on the Lake Andes WMD.

Getting There . . .
The Lake Andes NWR Complex headquarters is located on the east shore of Lake Andes. From Ravinia, South Dakota, travel 2 miles north on the county gravel road and 1.5 east to reach the Refuge headquarters. From the community of Lake Andes, travel north .5 mile then east 3.5 miles on a hard-surfaced county road, crossing the Lake from west to east before reaching the office and visitor center nestled under the cottonwoods.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

Your full starting address AND town and state OR zip code

Google Maps opens in a new window

NOTE: When using this feature, you will be leaving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service domain. We do not control the content or policies of the site you are about to visit. You should always check site policies before providing personal information or reusing content.

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.

horizontal line

Wildlife and Habitat

Habitat on the Complex is of three major types and supports a diverse assemblage of wildlife. Wetlands are surrounded by grasslands on Lake Andes NWR and WMD, and riverbottom woodlands are found on Karl E. Mundt NWR.

Learn More>>

Lake Andes was once a natural prairie lake. The basin was carved by glaciers some 10,000 years ago.

Learn More>>

    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
Learn More >>

Management Activities
Lake Andes relies primarily on precipitation to fill it or dry it out; however, limited water management capability exists on the Owens Bay unit of the Refuge. Drawdowns are sometimes necessary to encourage production of food resources for wildlife and to control carp and bullhead populations.

Grasslands surrounding Owens Bay are managed to provide cover for nesting waterfowl. Periodic grazing, prescribed burning, haying, reseeding, and herbicide spraying are necessary to keep grasses vigorous and free of noxious weeds. High densities of waterfowl nest in these grasslands.

Waterfowl production areas on Lake Andes WMD are managed similarly to Lake Andes NWR. Wetlands are generally smaller and subject to even more rapid wet and dry cycles than on Lake Andes. Cooperating farmers conduct grazing and haying.

Bald eagle conservation is the focus of the Karl E. Mundt NWR. The Refuge is closed to public use to protect eagles from disturbance when they are most sensitive - roosting during the cold heart of winter and nesting during spring, summer, and fall. Dams on the Missouri River have changed river ecology to the degree that cottonwoods no longer replace themselves along the river banks. Since these trees are important to bald eagles for roosting and nesting, they are replanted on the Refuge periodically.