This refuge, located on the north edge of the Nebraska sandhills ecoregion, has a series of impoundments and marshes surrounded by mixed-grass prairies. Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced to the region at Lacreek in the mid-1960’s; up to 300 still overwinter on the refuge. Pool 9 has an island which hosts an American White Pelican breeding colony, as well as a mixed-species colony of tree-nesting waterbirds. The refuge’s wetlands are managed to attract migrant waterfowl, shorebirds, and cranes, which can stage at the refuge in large numbers.

Ornithological Summary

There are only two permanent American White Pelican breeding colonies in South Dakota and Pool 9 hosts one of them, with 300 – 3000 pairs nesting on the Pool 9 island in any given year. The island also has a mixed-species tree-nesting waterbird colony; primarily Great Blue Herons, Double-crested Cormorants, Cattle Egrets, and Black-crowned Night-herons. Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced to the central Great Plains here and 100 - 300+ birds still overwinter on the refuge. Depending on water levels, the refuge attracts large numbers of shorebirds, waterfowl, and sandhill cranes during migration. 


National Wildlife Refuge owned and managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Pool 9 and most other ponds on the refuge are impoundments controlled by a series of dikes. The nesting island in Pool 9 has trees in the central part. There are some cattail marshes. The upland component is grassland – mostly non-native but it is gradually being restored to native mixed-grass prairie.

Land Use

The area is managed for birds, especially aquatic species, and other wildlife. Hunting is allowed.

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