Oxford Slough is a hardstem bulrush marsh in a valley bottom, which was purchased by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1985. The area is managed as a Waterfowl Production Area (WPA). Waterfowl Production Areas are 100% open to any legal recreational activity. A cooperative farmer farms and hays the agricultural lands and keeps an eye on fences and trespassing cattle. The area is an excellent waterfowl and waterbird nesting area.
This site contains one of Idaho?s five White-faced Ibis colonies, and the largest Franklin?s Gull colony in the state. Oxford Slough also attracts nesting waterfowl, particularly Redheads, and other waterbirds. Northern Harriers, Bobolinks, and Long-billed Curlews breed in the area. When there is water, it is an excellent fall staging and migration area for ducks, geese, Common Loons and Sandhill Cranes (300-400 cranes may be present in the fall). Trumpeter Swans are occasionally observed.
Introduced noxious weeds are a problem at Oxford Slough. In 1996, someone shot approximately 50 Franklin?s Gulls and White-faced Ibis. The shooting did not occur during the waterfowl season or during any other hunting season. Overgrazing used to be a problem at this site, but the boundaries of the WPA have been fenced and signed, and grazing has been discontinued. As a wildlife management measure, a cooperative farming program provides short grass foraging areas for geese and cranes, tall grass areas for nesting waterfowl, and grain crops for fall staging geese and cranes.
The core of the area is hardstem bulrush marsh. Valley soils are primarily peat and some alkali playa clays. On the north of the area are tall grass, alfalfa, and grain fields managed for nest cover and foraging areas. West of the area is the town of Oxford, adjacent lands are used for hay and grazing purposes. South of the area is similar marsh in private hands. To the East are playa grasslands (salt grass, beardless wildrye, greasewood), which is in idle management.
A cooperative farmer drives income from the area. The area is open to hunting, fishing, and trapping. But the lack of fish populations keeps fishermen out of the marsh, allowing birds to nest undisturbed.