The Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex is headquartered at Lake Andes, South Dakota, located a little to the east of the Missouri River and maybe ten miles north of the state's border with Nebraska. The complex comprises two separate refuges, the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge and the Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge.
Lake Andes is a natural, shallow prairie lake that is fed by underground springs, and once every twenty years (approximately) the lake dries up. Sioux Indians frequently made camp at the lake while pursuing migrating herds of buffalo and flocks of waterfowl. Two dikes separate the lake into three sections, allowing better water retention during the dry summers.
Wildlife observation, hunting, and fishing are the major attractions at the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge during wet years. Over one hundred species of birds nest at the refuge, including bald eagles, ring-necked pheasant, northern pintail, ducks and geese. Various mammal species are commonly found at the refuge, including white-tailed deer, coyote, muskrat and badger.
The Karl E. Mundt National Wildlife Refuge has the largest concentration of Bald eagles in the lower 48 states, with over 200 eagles often spending the winter there. The refuge is closed to the public, but bird watching is available from the Ft. Randall Dam. A kiosk at the dam provides information on optimal times and locations for viewing various species.
To obtain more information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex
38672 291st Street
Lake Andes, South Dakota 57356
To find more things to do and places to stay in South Dakota
The Lewis and Clark Trail Today: On to the Grasslands