What We Do

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge strives to connect people with wildlife, plants, and the land by providing equitable and just ways to deepen personal relationships with nature, while balancing healthy natural habitat management with opportunities for education, visitor engagement, youth employment, community involvement, and stewardship.   

We strive to grow a safe place for both wildlife and people. We do this through our work in community, restoration, and environmental justice. 


We believe community is more than just humans – community includes people, plants, and animals. We serve our community in multiple ways, including organizing community events and workshops, hiring local youth, planning wildlife habitats, restoring watersheds, and much more. 

Our refuge was made by the people who live here, and we serve the people who live here. As an urban wildlife refuge, our focus is being a community asset to the Mountain View neighborhood, South Valley, and the Pueblo of Isleta.  

We welcome visitors from all over to come and enjoy the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, while also supporting our work and learning about our community empowerment efforts. Learn more how you can Get Involved.  


As one of the newest urban wildlife refuges, our community and partners are working together to re-wild 570 acres of former farmland.  

Our restoration work is guided by three principles:  

  • We value connection. 
  • Our goal is diversity. 
  • We believe wildlife has its own value. 

We are committed to restoring and stewarding the land by connecting migratory pollinator paths, diversifying native habitats, and designating areas of the refuge as restoration areas. Our community-led restoration efforts not only connect us to the land, but also diversify the wildlife and the recreational activities possible on the refuge for years to come.   

Over the next several decades, we plan to continue our refuge transformation by creating new habitats, expanding our trail network, and providing new opportunities for education and engagement.  

See more details about our restoration plans in our Habitat Development and Management Plan and our Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management Plan {Insert link to Collection page}. To stay informed about the progress of our restoration efforts, be on the lookout for our community update open house events. You can also sign up for our weekly 'Transformation Thursday' newsletters by emailing: vdolistens@fws.gov 

Please note that while we were established for both wildlife and people, due to Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge's location in the direct flight path of the airport and Air Force base, we do not grow crops for migratory birds. 

Environmental Justice 

All our work at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge centers around the belief that those who live here deserve a say in what happens around them. This idea of environmental justice (EJ) forms the foundation of how we serve our focus community and how we make collaborative and inclusive decisions. We believe that the injustices of the past (including pollution, inequity, and disproportionate environmental harm to communities without representation) should not be the future.  

Our work towards environmental justice includes: 

  • Educating the public on the environmental history of the Mountain View neighborhood 
  • Offering a free Environmental Justice Library 
  • Educational film screenings and book discussions on local environmental issues 
  • Expanding accessibility and equity at the refuge 
  • Community-led pollution monitoring 
  • Community-based conservation planning 
  • Educating our staff and leadership on environmental justice 
  • Local-youth conservation career pathways 
  • And much more… 

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge is the first public land to develop and commit to an Environmental & Economic Justice Strategic Plan, which outlines our vision and strategy for the future. The Environmental and Economic Justice Strategic Plan can be found along with the Principles of Environmental Justice in the Visitor Center.

Frequently Asked Questions 

A Place of Refuge, Not Rehabilitation 

Although Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge prioritizes wildlife and their health, the Refuge does not serve the purpose of wildlife rehabilitation. If you find an injured animal off Refuge property, please contact your local animal rehabilitation facility. In you do not have access to that information, the Refuge can assist with providing contact information of local rehabbers. If you find an injured animal on Refuge property, you may contact the front desk at 505-248-6667. Note the animal’s location and avoid approaching it or attempting to catch it. 

How can I enjoy the Bosque? 

  • Bosque restoration is occurring on the west side of the refuge, where you can visit the young cottonwood and willow trees.  
  • We are very happy to be neighbors to the Bosque, although the Bosque is not refuge property, it is accessible by foot from the refuge from the Bosque Loop Trail.  
  • Once you cross the bridge you are on city and state lands.  
  • Check our map or ask at the front desk about our Bosque Loop Trail. 

What Restoration is happening? 

  • The refuge used to be known as Price’s Valley Gold Dairy Farm, which is where our name Valle de Oro (Valley of Gold) comes from. The refuge is being transformed back to native New Mexico habitat. 
  • The west half will consist of the bosque extension and wetlands with a swale to collect stormwater. 
  • The east half will be Chihuahuan desert and upland habitat. 
  • We expect the majority of restoration work to be done in the next 10 years. After that habitat will grow and mature. 

What is a National Wildlife Refuge? 

  • Refuges are protected areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service We create and manage habitat for fish, wildlife, and plants. 
  • There are 568 National Wildlife Refuges (and more being dedicated each year). 
  • Wildlife refuges are different than national parks, forests, and other public lands. 
  • What a refuge is not: a wildlife rehabilitation center, a wildlife sanctuary, or a zoo. 

Can I learn more about the birds? 

  • We have a bird checklist that shows which birds you might see at the refuge. 
  • We get many migratory birds as well as the birds that stay year-round. 
  • We are in the direct flight path of the airport and the Air Force base; because of this we do not grow crops for the birds. 

Is there driving access? 

  • A perimeter trail is in the planning process and will be constructed in 2024. This trail will allow limited driving access via permits to visitors along the perimeter of the refuge. 
  • Stay tuned for future shuttling services. 

What will happen to the old dairy structures? 

  • The old welcome center/farm manager’s house will be torn down as we enjoy the new visitor center.  
  • We are working on plans to reuse the milk tank located next to the current visitor center.  

Other Frequently Asked Questions 

  • The pond at the Visitor Center is filled with collected rainwater from the roof and supplemented with well water. 
  • Refuge wetlands will be filled seasonally, mostly by irrigation water from water rights of the property. 
  • Horses are welcome by neighbors but trailer parking is not available (see trails map for which trails are available to horseback riding).  
  • Our building is LEED green certified and dark sky friendly. The windows are also bird-friendly with lines to prevent bird strikes. 
  • Have questions that are not answered here? Email us at Valledeoro@fws.gov 

Management and Conservation

Refuges use a wide range of land management tools based on the best science available. Some refuges use prescribed fires to mimic natural fires that would have cleared old vegetation from the land helping native plants regenerate and local wildlife to thrive. Other refuges contain Wilderness areas where land is largely managed passively. The management tools used are aimed at ensuring a balanced conservation approach where both wildlife and people will benefit.

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement 

Federal law enforcement officers ensure the safety of the public and the protection of natural resources. They address illegal activities, including poaching, taking of endangered species, dumping of trash, illegal operation of all-terrain vehicles and trespassing.  
To report a violation on Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge, please call:  

  • (505) 933-2708 -- Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm-MDT  
  • (575) 518-8090 -- After hours or on weekends    

For injured wildlife, please contact a qualified wildlife rehabilitation facility near you.  

Wildlife Rescue Inc. of New Mexico, Phone: (505) 344-2500  

Laws and Regulations

Laws and Regulations 

Review rules and regulations to support a fun and safe visit to Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. If you would like to conduct an activity on Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge please refer the requirements for special use permits.