Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

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About Us

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1909 by President Teddy Roosevelt upon completion of the dams at Lake Lowell. It is one of the oldest refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It was established to serve as a refuge and breeding grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. In 1937, the refuge was expanded by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to include 36 islands in the Snake River. The refuge now manages the Lake Lowell Sector and 101 islands in the Snake River Islands Sector.

Located southwest of Boise, Idaho, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge includes the Lake Lowell sector (10,588 acres) and the Snake River Islands sector (about 800 acres). Lake Lowell is an irrigation project reservoir that provides an oasis for wildlife in this arid region. The late-summer drawdown of the lake reveals mud flats that provide food for a variety of resident and migratory wildlife. Historic wintering waterfowl populations averaged over 300,000 birds. This number has now declined to near 100,000. The Snake River Islands (101 islands along 113 miles of river) provide a diversity of habitats from small wetlands to sagebrush uplands. Several islands house heron rookeries and gull colonies, and provide feeding and resting spots for migratory birds. The refuge is popular with the public. Each year, more than 100,000 people visit to hunt, fish, photograph and view wildlife, learn about natural resources through displays and programs at the visitor center, and walk the nature trail.

Latest Listings

Habitat Restoration Planting Event (Volunteer Opportunity)

Creepy Critter Encounters (Volunteer Opportunity)


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