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National Wildlife Refuge

The importance of the Green River to this area is readily apparent. Lush trees grow along the river showing off their fall colors, but the rest of the view is dry, arid land.
HC 69 Box 232
Randlett, UT   84063
E-mail: ouray@fws.gov
Phone Number: 435-545-2522 Ext. 11
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
The Green River transports water from the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado to this arid area, creating an oasis for wildlife on Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.
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Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located in the desert of northeastern Utah; it receives less than 7 inches of precipitation annually. The Green River brings water down from the mountains of Wyoming and through the Refuge, attracting thousands of waterfowl and other birds to this otherwise dry landscape. Refuge lands total 11,987 acres, including 2,681 acres of leased land from the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation.

Getting There . . .
To reach Ouray NWR, take U.S. Highway 40, 14 miles west of the city of Vernal, Utah. Turn south on State Highway 88 and travel 14 miles to the Refuge entrance. The Refuge office is located 1 mile down the entrance road.

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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 includes approximately 19 square miles of bottomland and river surface along the Green River.

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Ouray NWR was established in 1960 to provide prime breeding, resting, and feeding areas for migratory waterfowl.

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Management Activities
Most of the management activities on the Refuge focus on protection and restoration of wetland and upland natural ecosystems. During years with average river levels, the bottomlands of the Refuge flood. During dry years, additional water can be added to certain areas, but most of the water levels are maintained in their natural state, with management concentrating on producing a variety of habitat conditions such as mudflats for shorebirds and flood areas for feeding and nesting opportunities.

Selenium contamination is prevalent in this area, and steps have been taken to try to prevent selenium from entering any additional Refuge wetlands. Numerous invasive plant species threaten all habitat types on the Refuge. Invasive plants compete with the native plants, but the native plants are preferred by most wildlife species for forage and cover. Native plants, ranging from cottonwood trees to the grasses and forbs of the uplands, are all in jeopardy. Control of invasive species and restoration of native species involves a wide range of habitat management techniques, including water management, prescribed burning, mowing, chemical treatments, and reseeding of native species.