About the Refuge

Young visitors enjoying the refuge / USFWS

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, the Southwest’s first urban wildlife refuge, serves as an urban oasis for both wildlife and people.


On a former dairy farm just a few miles south of New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area, the refuge works to create a conservation stewardship legacy by working with community partners to establish a 21st century conservation ethic and reconnect people, especially young people, to the natural world. The new refuge was established due to the partnership efforts of many in the community that recognized the importance of having a wildlife refuge in this urban setting.  

Valle de Oro offers a unique environmental education and recreation opportunity in a highly populated area while promoting a wildlife conservation message. It is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed for the benefit of wildlife, habitat and you. 

Valle de Oro NWR is a designated Urban NWR. Valle de Oro was a former dairy farm and is still currently in agricultural fields on a majority of the property. Long-term Refuge plans are to make the refuge into a mosaic of native Middle Rio Grande Valley habitats and an oasis to both wildlife and people. At this refuge, staff, partners, and the community are collaboratively building a refuge from scratch, keeping in mind wildlife, people, environmental justice, and more.   

In 2017 we completed the Restoration, Activities, and Site Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) for Valle de Oro NWR and the associated Compatibility Determinations (CDs).  

Click to learn more about the Environmental Assessment.