- The major focus of the refuge is wetland and water management to provide food, cover, and production habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. Farming and other programs are also used to ensure a healthy wildlife and wildland resource.
The artificially created wetlands of Monte Vista NWR are intensively managed to provide additional habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other waterbirds. Mallards, pintail, teal and Canada geese are common, as are avocets, killdeer, ibis, egrets, and herons.
Both spring and fall thousands of sandhill cranes migrate to the valley. A few rare whooping cranes accompany their sandhill crane foster parents during these migrations. During spring, summer, and fall, ducks, geese, avocets, ibis, and herons abound. Winter, with its "icebox" conditions, is the time for eagles, hawks, and owls. Deer and elk move during the winter form the high country to the foothills for their winter food supply. The refuge is visited by the endangered bald eagle and peregrine falcon.
Pumped and artesian wells, along with irrigation canal and ditch diversions form the Rio Grande River provide water to maintain wetland habitat.
The refuge provides and auto tour route and wildlife observation area, along with several county roads and a State highway for wildlife viewing opportunities.