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Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN Category IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
Location Siskiyou County, California / Klamath County, Oregon, USA
Nearest city Klamath Falls, OR
Coordinates 41°59′43″N 121°42′42″W / 41.99528°N 121.71167°W / 41.99528; -121.71167Coordinates: 41°59′43″N 121°42′42″W / 41.99528°N 121.71167°W / 41.99528; -121.71167
Area 50,912.68 acres (206.04 km2)
Established 1908
Governing body United States Fish and Wildlife Service

The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a wildlife preserve operated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service located in the Klamath Basin along a portion of the northern California and southern Oregon border near Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 16, 1965.[1]

Ross's Geese over freshwater marsh

Lower Klamath NWR, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, was the first waterfowl refuge in the United States. It has a total area of 50,912.68 acres (206.04 km2), of which 44,294.55 acres (179.25 km2) are in California and 6,618.13 acres (26.78 km2) are in Oregon.[2] The refuge includes shallow freshwater marshes, open water, grassy uplands, and croplands that are intensively managed to provide feeding, resting, nesting, and brood rearing habitat for waterfowl and other water birds. A marked 10-mile (20 km) auto tour allows visitors year round access for wildlife viewing. The Refuge also has a number of blinds for wildlife photographers.

Refuge Objectives:

  • Maintain habitat for endangered, threatened and sensitive species.
  • Provide and enhance habitat for fall and spring migrant waterfowl.
  • Protect native habitats and wildlife representative of the natural biological diversity of the Klamath Basin.
  • Integrate the maintenance of productive wetland habitats and sustainable agriculture.
  • Ensure that the refuge agricultural practices conform to the principles of integrated pest management.
  • Provide high quality wildlife-dependent visitor services.
Habitat distribution

Significant species:

  • American bald eagle
  • Golden eagle
  • American white pelican
  • White-faced ibis
  • Snow, Ross’, white-fronted, & Canada geese.
  • Peregrine falcon
  • Pintail, mallard, gadwall, canvasback
  • Western & eared grebes
  • Black tern
  • Tri-colored blackbird

Current Issues of Concern:

  • Loss of wetlands. The Klamath Basin has lost 80% of its original wetlands
  • Degraded water quality.
  • Water quantity during drought years (balancing wildlife needs with basin agricultural demands). Water rights adjudication.
Great Egret on gate valve handle

Public Uses:

  • Wildlife viewing areas
  • Wildlife Auto Routes
  • Waterfowl Hunting
  • Visitor Center
  • Environmental Education
  • Photography Blinds
  • Refuge Virtual Tour

Ongoing Management Activities:

  • Extensive wetland/cropland rotation scheme.
  • Implementation of a comprehensive Integrated Pest Management Program on commercial lease lands.
  • Maintenance of an extensive water conveyance infrastructure.

See also


  1. ^ "Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-05.  
  2. ^ USFWS Lands Report, 30 September 2007

External links



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