National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1935 as a refuge and breeding
ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.&nbsp;
This refuge is located the glacial drift plain in Foster and Stutsman
counties along a 14-mile stretch of the James River in east-central North
Dakota.&nbsp; The refuge contains
approximately 6000 acres of native prairie; 5340 acres of seeded grasses; 3849
acres of wetlands (420 acres of natural wetlands); 660 acres of wooded ravines
and riparian woodlands; and 125 acres of planted trees including shelterbelts.</strong><strong>&nbsp; Approximately 3430 acres of wetlands are in managed riverine
impoundments and pools that attract large concentrations of migratory waterfowl.
&nbsp;The remaining acres are either natural
wetlands or instream wetlands created by low-head dikes on tributaries flowing
into the refuge. Historically, the managed impoundments were naturally
occurring riverine lakes; these lakes were modified to improve water management

Ornithological Summary

The refuge is
in the Central Flyway migration corridor and is an important stopover for many
species of birds as they journey north and south during annual migrations.
There are 266 species of birds that have been observed at
the refuge (appendix J). Of these, 124 species are known to nest at the refuge.
Spring and fall migrations find spectacular numbers of waterfowl passing
through the area and the refuge is an important stop for many on the journey
north or south. The James River serves as a major migration route and breeding ground
for thousands of geese and ducks. Canada goose, snow goose, white-fronted
goose, mallard, gadwall, blue-winged teal, American wigeon, lesser scaup,
hooded merganser, redhead, and canvasback are common in the James River
watershed. Arrowwood NWR provides production habitat as well as resting and
feeding areas for thousands of waterfowl and other migratory birds. The refuge
is particularly important as a major diving duck staging area in North Dakota,
with specific importance to fall populations of canvasbacks. The refuge is a
major waterfowl production area and provides wetland habitat for migratory
waterfowl. In addition to the waterfowl use of the refuge, other migratory and
resident species inhabit the wetlands. Game and nongame species observed in the
watershed include ring-necked pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge,
mourning dove, upland sandpiper, bobolink, western meadowlark, and
chestnut-collared longspur. Other bird species associated with riverine and
wetland habitat found at the refuge include great blue heron, American bittern,
American white pelican, red-winged blackbird, sora, American coot, Le Conte
s sparrow, and
Nelson’s sparrow. Numbers of upland birds are cyclic, but good populations are
normally present. 
There are two federally
listed threatened and endangered species known to occur at the refuge. The
whooping crane is listed as endangered. The piping plover is a threatened
species. Whooping cranes migrate through the area but there have been only two
confirmed sightings in recent years on or near the refuge. A lone whooping
crane with a flock of sandhill cranes was recorded during the 2001 fall
migration. A single whooping crane was sighted just west of Pingree, North
Dakota, during spring 1997. The piping plover has been recorded nesting at the
refuge during years of low water; the bird prefers exposed gravel islands and
shoreline habitat for nesting. Piping plovers have not been observed at the
refuge since 1991. Because of its history of piping plover use, the refuge has
designated critical habitat for piping plovers. The refuge participates in the
“International Piping plover Breeding Census” conducted every 5 years. The
following species of special concern may be present at the refuge during
certain times of the year: black tern, ferruginous hawk, Baird's sparrow,
loggerhead shrike, and
northern goshawk

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