This 34,500 acre refuge attracts thousands of wintering waterfowl each year. The refuge host 115 species of fish, 74 species of reptiles and amphibians, 47 species of mammals, and 285 different species of songbirds. The refuge also manages and protects habitat for 10 federally listed endangered or threatened species that reside on the refuge.
Management techniques on the refuge include:
Waterfowl Food Production
Approximately 3500 acres of crop-land are cultivated by local farmers on a share agreement. During harvest a portion of the crop is left in the field as a food source for ducks, geese, and other wildlife. Each fall the refuge provides green browse for wintering geese by planting wheat.
Water control structures are used in wet areas to change water levels in a controlled manner. This type of management provides food for waterfowl by encouraging the growth of native plants in moist areas.
Providing Habitat Diversity
Wheeler Refuge's wide variety of habitat types are managed to produce as much quality food and cover as feasibly possible for wildlife.
Ducks are banded each year in an effort to maintain current information on nesting success, harvest numbers, migration routes, and the general conditions of waterfowl populations.
Use by the Public
The public is encouraged to visit the refuge and participate in the many activities designed and offered for outdoor enjoyment. Wildlife observation, fishing, hiking, nature study, and hunting of small game and deer are just a few of the opportunities available. The Visitor Center located on Highway 67 two miles west of I-65 should be the first stop for all visitors planning a trip to the refuge. At the Visitor Center, visitors can obtain information about the refuge, enjoy the exhibits, watch the orientation slide program, use the observation building and trails, and find out about other interesting activities that might be available.