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Utah's National Wildlife Refuges

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge- Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is located at the mouth of the Bear River in northwestern Utah. It contains over 74,000 acres of vitally important migration and production habitat for birds. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded at the Refuge and approximately 60 species breed here.
Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge- Fish Springs NWR provides critical migratory and breeding habitat for a variety of water birds in a very arid climate. As the only wetland of any size for a 50 mile radius it is a magnet for migrating birds. The marsh is entirely spring-fed from several large geothermal saline springs.
Ouray National Wildlife Refuge- The Ouray NWR is located in northeastern Utah in Uintah County along the Green River. Over 200 species of birds are found on the refuge.


Past management emphasis has been on waterfowl production and providing feeding/resting areas for migratory birds. Potential changes in management philosophies include reduced emphasis on waterfowl production, increased emphasis on spring/fall migrational habitat and riparian restoration.


The Green River and it's floodplain are designated critical habitat for four endangered fish species of the Upper Colorado River System. The Ouray NWR potentially has some of the best flooded bottomlands habitat in the river system and may be a critical link to establishing self-sustaining populations of these fish. Modifications of Refuge protective dikes to benefit endangered fish and cottonwood regeneration is currently under consideration.


The Ouray National Fish Hatchery is physically located on the Ouray NWR; it's purpose is to propagate endangered fish as genetic refugia and for research purposes.


Issues of concern are improvement of water delivery systems, selenium contamination and clean up, mosquito abatement and invasion of nonnative vegetation.


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General Information

Description - The three National Wildlife Refuges in Utah consist of wetlands which attract hundreds of bird species in this otherwise arid state. The three refuges include Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, and Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.

Over 200 species of birds are found on the Ouray NWR. Management emphasis has been on waterfowl production and providing feeding/resting areas for migratory birds. In addition, the Ouray NWR potentially has some of the best flooded bottomlands habitat in the Green River system and may be a critical link to establishing self-sustaining populations of several species of endangered fish. Nearly 270 species of birds have been observed on the Fish Springs NWR. Located in the eastern portion of the Great Basin, it is one of the largest wetlands in that ecosystem. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge contains over 74,000 acres of vitally important migration and production habitat for birds. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded at the Refuge and approximately 60 species breed here.

Recreation - The primary activities available on these refuges are related to bird-watching and wildlife viewing.

Climate - The climate of Utah varies with the terrain. Visitors to the mountains will experience cool summer nights and passing storms that can alter a sunny day very quickly. Be prepared with layers when recreating in the mountains.

The deserts and canyons of Utah can be dangerous places. Summer temperatures often reach above 100 degrees F, so be sure to carry water on all adventures. Flash floods in the canyons are also a threat. It is difficult to predict incoming weather when deep within a canyon so check reports before venturing into any narrow canyon areas.

Location - The three refuges in Utah are spread across the northern half of the state. Ouray NWR is located in northeast Utah, along the Green River. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is found on the northeast side the Great Salt Lake, west of Brigham City. Fish Springs NWR is located in an isolated area of west-central Utah.


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Contact Information:
USFWS Mountain-Prairie Region, 134 Union Blvd. , Lakewood, CO, 80228

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