- Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect and preserve an important tract of bottomland hardwood forest and wetland habitat along the Deep Fork River for the benefit of migratory birds and other native fish and wildlife resources. Most of the Refuge is within the 100-year floodplain, and over 80 percent of it floods annually.
The Refuge is characterized by bottomland hardwood forests with oxbows, sloughs, marshes, and small streams scattered throughout. It contains some stands of mature timber, but most of it has been harvested in the past and supports regenerated stands of oak, pecan, elm, hickory, ash, sugarberry, walnut, riverbirch, willow, and other hardwood trees with understory shrubs, vines, sedges and grasses. Pin oak, shumard oak, bur oak, and red oak are the most common oaks found. The soils in the bottoms are predominantly clay.
A diversity of wildlife is supported by the rich variety of habitats and plants that are found in the bottomlands. Two hundred and fifty-four species of birds utilize the Refuge. The numerous wetlands support ducks, herons, egrets, and kingfishers. Raptors, woodpeckers, and songbirds are abundant. The Refuge provides excellent nesting habitat for warblers, videos, flycatchers, buntings, and swallows. It is also an important nesting area for wood ducks. Wintering waterfowl utilize the sloughs and wetlands along the Deep Fork River. Mallards are the most common.
Fifty-one species of mammals have been identified from the Deep Fork River bottom. White-tailed deer are abundant. Squirrels and rabbits populations are very good. The swamp rabbit is common in the bottoms.