Important Bird Areas

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex

South Dakota

The Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge is located in Charles Mix County, South Dakota. The focus of the Refuge is spring-fed Lake Andes.Water management on the lake is aided by two roads that cross the lake in an east-west direction. The IBA includes a small amount of federal and state public lands which are upland habitat for nesting waterfowl. The refuge is renowned for its large flocks of migrant waterfowl, waterbirds, and landbirds.

Ornithological Summary

The Lake Andes Wildlife Refuge supports large numbers of waterfowl, especially during spring and fall migration. It also serves as a stopover location for many species of landbirds. Lake Andes provides important habitat for Bald Eagles, especially in winter.

Conservation Issues

Because of the row cropping in the surrounding watershed, the lake is susceptible to sedimentation from soil erosion, and pollution from fertilizers. Staging and migrant waterfowl sometimes experience die-offs from diseases. The lake is shallow and there is a concern with leftover lead on the bottom from hunting and fishing activities.

Ownership

Although Lake Andes is managed by the USFWS, the lakebed is under easement from the state of South Dakota. A small amount of adjacent tracts are owned by USFWS and the state.

Habitat

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Freshwater
lake and marsh surrounded by cottonwoods trees (Populus deltoides. and
adjacent grasslands, which are  fields of
native, warm-season grasses, including big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi),
switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans).

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Land Use

Hunting, fishing, and bird-watching. Upland areas are reserved for wildlife production, especially gamebird nesting.