Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge is located in northwest Missouri, near Mound City. Originally known as Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the name was changed to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge on January 11, 2017 in order to remove the derogatory word squaw from the name.
The refuge was established on August 23, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a refuge feeding and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge contains 7,440 acres along the eastern edge of the Missouri River floodplain, including wetlands, grasslands and forests. Overlooking the refuge from the east is the loess bluffs habitat, a geological formation of fine silt deposited after the past glacial period. These unique hills stretch from about 30 miles south of St. Joseph, Missouri, to extreme northern Iowa. Some of the last parcels of native plants, remnants of a once vast native prairie, can be found here. Loess, pronounced “luss,” soils support Missouri’s native prairie plants such as Indian grass, big bluestem, blazing star, yucca, beard-tongue and skeleton plant.
On an average year, the refuge supports up to 200,000 ducks during fall and winter seasons and upwards of a million snow geese. The refuge was officially named one of America’s top 500 Globally Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society in 2001.
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.
Everywas created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. All activities allowed on refuges must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.
The purpose of Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge is to serve as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge also manages to preserve, restore and manage wetland and upland habitats that represent the Lower Missouri River ecosystem for the benefit of a diverse complex of fauna and flora, with emphasis on threatened and endangered species; and, to provide opportunities for the public to enjoy wildlife-dependent recreation, including environmental education and public outreach.
Aug. 23, 1935 - The refuge was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a refuge feeding and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife.
1937-1942 - The Civilian Conservation Corps help build the newly formed refuge. They helped build roads and levees, water control structures, bridges and buildings as well as map the refuge, restore habitat and conduct wildlife surveys.
2001 - The refuge was officially named one of America’s top 500 Globally Important Bird Areas by the National Audubon Society.
Jan. 11, 2017 - The refuge changed its name from Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in order to remove the derogatory word squaw from the name.
Dec. 2020 - A record 661 bald eagles were counted on the refuge during a biological survey.
Other Facilities in this Complex
The refuge is part of a complex, including three ecologically diverse wildlife refuges in Missouri: Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages these areas to maintain a vital and diverse environment for the areas inhabitants.