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Flint Hills
National Wildlife Refuge

Canada geese are predominantly brown, but they have a black head, neck, bill, and legs.  They also have a large white cheek patch.
530 W. Maple Ave.
Hartford, KS   66854
E-mail: flinthills@fws.gov
Phone Number: 620-392-5553
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Resident and migratory flocks of Canada geese are commonly seen on Refuge wetlands and crop lands.
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Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge

Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) lies in the broad, flat Neosho River Valley, a native tallgrass prairie region with natural scenic beauty.

The Refuge was established in 1966 as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers John Redmond Reservoir flood control project. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages 18,463 acres upstream of the reservoir, most of which is in the floodplain of the Neosho River. Refuge habitats are managed to provide food and habitat for migratory birds and resident wildlife.

Getting There . . .
Flint Hills NWR is located near the town of Hartford, Kansas. From Interstate 35, take exit 141 and turn south on Kansas Highway 130. Follow K-130 south for 8 miles until reaching Hartford. Turn west on Maple Ave and drive 3 blocks to the main entrance road. Turn north to the Refuge headquarters and visitor center. Directional signs are located along the route.

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Wildlife and Habitat

When the Refuge was established, approximately 14,500 acres of its 18,463 acres were farmed. The Refuge staff continues to plant fields back to native grasses to restore the natural diversity of the land.

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Historically, the Neosho River valley was a mosaic of tallgrass prairie habitats, wetlands, and riparian habitats. Neosho is the Osage word meaning "clear and abundant water." It was an important area for migrating birds and provided quality habitat for resident wildlife.

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Management Activities
Management of the Refuge primarily focuses on habitat reconstruction of the previously agricultural landscape to natural grasslands, riparian forests, and wetlands within the Neosho River floodplain.

Grassland restoration involves planting native, warm season grasses on the dry, upland sites and prairie cordgrass on the lower, wetter fields. Tree removal and prescribed burns are necessary to maintain these habitats. Noxious weeds also threaten the integrity of the grassland habitats. Bur oaks line the upper reaches of the Neosho River as well as many of its tributaries. To remove undesirable trees and to create openings for natural bur oak regeneration, the Refuge staff uses prescribed fire. Opportunities also exist for planting bur oaks to expand riparian habitat.

Wetland creation and management are also habitat management priorities. Nearly 2,000 acres of wetlands are intensively managed to produce food for migratory and wintering waterfowl. Mowing, burning, and discing are used to encourage the growth of seed-producing annual plants and discourage tree growth in these created wetlands. Water levels are manipulated to make these foods available to waterfowl.

Water management also creates habitat for migrating shorebirds. Water is held in the wetlands late in the spring and then natural runoff is captured during mid-summer to provide the shallow water mudflat habitat required by sandpipers and plovers. During spring, these shorebirds use moist soil vegetation as shelter against the winds.