A valuable wintering area for migrating waterfowl, thousands of ducks and geese over-winter on Buffalo Lake National Wildlife Refuge every year. Located in Randall County in the Texas Panhandle, the refuge is made up of 7,664 acres of shortgrass prairie, riparian, marsh, woodland and cropland habitats. Maintaining these habitats provide homes for migratory and resident wildlife species.
Riparian areas, consisting of trees and grasses adjacent the dry lake bed, provide habitat used for feeding and nesting by neotropical migratory birds, deer, and numerous other wildlife species.
Wildlife food crops are planted in the dry lake bottom by cooperative farming. The crops are used by wildlife for food and the mix of crops, stubble, and natural plants provide nesting and winter cover for migratory and resident wildlife.
Buffalo Lake NWR contains some of the best remaining shortgrass prairie in the United States, including 175 acres designated a National Natural Landmark. Shortgrass prairie ecosystems were historically maintained by annual grazing of migrating American bison. With the bison gone, this ecosystem is maintained by grazing cattle.
Waterfowl habitat is provided by a moist soil management unit located in Stewart Marsh. Flooded each spring, the unit slowly dries, promoting growth of aquatic waterfowl food plants. The unit is flooded again in fall just before the ducks arrive. The result is food and cover for water birds seeking a rest stop. Additional wildlife water is found in artificial ponds and water tanks.
Sack lunch picnicking is permitted only in the designated picnic area during posted hours. Because wildfire is a serious threat to wildlife and their refuge habitats, charcoal grills and ground fires are prohibited.
Opportunities for environmental education and wildlife experiences for schools, and environmental clubs and organizations is available by special permit. Please contact the refuge at 806/499-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org regarding your group needs.
The refuge is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Amarillo, Texas, in Umbarger, Texas, on U.S. 60 between Hereford and Canyon, Texas. At Umbarger, take FM Road 168 1.5 miles to refuge entrance road. Follow signs to headquarters and visitor check station.