This large refuge in west-central Nebraska consists of native Sandhills prairie dotted with numerous shallow lakes, ponds, and wetlands.
One of the top birding spots in the entire state has attracted 279 species. Hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds utilize the many wetland areas. Breeding species include eared grebe, American bittern, willet, Forster's and black terns, while thousands of Wilson's phalaropes, Baird's sandpipers, and other wetland birds can be found during migration. The rare Clark's grebe and black rail have been reported, too. The extensive, native Sandhills prairies support breeding grassland species such as the long-billed curlew, upland sandpiper, loggerhead shrike, dickcissel, grasshopper sparrow, bobolink, and northern harrier.
The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior.