Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge is on Farm Road 168 three miles south of Umbarger in Randall County. The 7,667-acre preserve, purchased by the United States Department of the Interior in the mid-1930s, is among the major waterfowl refuges in the Central Flyway, one of four major migratory routes over the continental United States. Some 275 species of birds have been observed in the area, though the refuge's main attraction is the thousands of ducks and geese that winter there. During the mid-1960s, some 800,000 ducks and 40,000 Canada geese spent the winter at Buffalo Lake. The lake, however, began to dry up in the 1970s because it had no regular inflow, and in the 1980s its future value as a waterfowl sanctuary was uncertain. To provide forage for the birds, each year crops were planted on about 1,000 acres in the dry lakebed. In the 1980s efforts were under way to make a marshy area for wildlife. The open grasslands around the lakebed provided habitat for a variety of animal life, including deer, prairie dogs, bobcats, and coyotes. Recreational facilities at the refuge included a hiking trail, campsites, and picnic areas.

The Handbook of Texas Online.

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