The Refuge is located along the Souris River in north-central North Dakota. The 58,700 acre Refuge is the largest in the state.
The Mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.
J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is located along the Souris River in north-central North Dakota. This 58,700 acre Refuge extends south from the Canadian border for approximately 45 miles and is the largest refuge in North Dakota. The diverse habitat types found on the Refuge - mixed grass prairie, river valley, marshes, sandhills, and woodlands - support an abundant variety of wildlife.
The primary purpose of the Refuge is to provide habitat for waterfowl, migratory birds, and other wildlife. J. Clark Salyer NWR is one of over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System - a network of lands set aside and managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service specifically for wildlife.
The Refuge lies in the lakebed of glacial Lake Souris. Retreating glaciers created the rolling hills and temporary wetlands of today's landscape. Most of the Refuge is composed of river valley wetland habitat bordered by a narrow strip of upland vegetation. The southern portion of the Refuge includes wooded river bottoms, floodplain meadows, and native prairie sandhills. The sandhills are remnants of wind-and-wave borne deposits on the ancient lakeshore.
Established in 1935, the refuge was originally called Lower Souris Refuge. It was renamed in 1967 in honor of J. Clark Salyer II, who was a biology teacher in Minot, North Dakota and went on to become the Chief of Refuges for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.