The Laramie Plains Lakes Complex encompasses four discreet lake complexes and associated wetland areas within the Laramie Plains Basin. The first complex spans from Hutton National Wildlife Refuge and extends northwest to and includes Lake Hattie. Lakes that are included in the first complex are: Meeboer, Mortenson NWR, Rush, George, Hattie, Hutton, Creighton, Hoge, Osterman, Cadewell, Gellat, and Twin Buttes Reservoir. The second complex encompases Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge. The third and fourth complexes are the Allen Cook Ranch and ninie-mile and seven-mile lakes, respectively.
It is an important migratory stopover for many waterfowl, gulls, shorebirds and waders. It is one of 3 breeding areas in Wyoming for American White Pelican. Other significant breeding birds include: Black-crowned Night Heron, American Bittern, White-faced Ibis, American Avocet and California Gull.
1) Junior water rights for the National Wildlife Refuge causes problems in dry years.
2) The Tri-State Platte River Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program could require water contributions from the Laramie Plains. Many wetlands are created by inefficient flood irrigation.
USFWS: Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Rush, George, Hutton, Creighton, and Hodge Lakes), Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Bamforth National Wildlife Refuge
State: Lake Hattie, Twin Buttes Reservoir, Seven-mile Lake, Osterman Lake, Meeboer Lake
Private: Allen Cook Ranch and Nine-mile Lake
The entire IBA area contains many wetlands created by flood irrigation and is one of the major areas for breeding and migrating waterfowl in the state of Wyoming. The Laramie Plains IBA complex is part of the Laramie Plains Basin and therefore is a tributary of the North Platte River, where there is urgent need to increase instream flows to benefit endangered cranes, terns, and plovers. The wetlands are very saline in nature and resembles other high-altitude basins in the area.