- Kootenai NWR is in the Idaho panhandle, about 20 miles from the Canadian border and 5 miles from Bonners Ferry, Idaho. It lies in the Kootenai River flood plain with generally flat topography. The western boundary ascends the base of the Selkirk Mountains for 0.5 miles, rising several hundred feet above the valley floor.
The valley is surrounded by mountain ranges over 7,000 feet high. Refuge lands are a mosaic of ponds, canals, farmed land, grass uplands, and forest. Water is obtained from mountain streams and from the Kootenai river through gravity flow and pumping.
The rich environment produces a great diversity of wildlife including 310 vertebrate species. The refuge is a valuable stop in the migration corridor through Idaho and Washington. Primary management aims are to provide feeding and resting areas for waterfowl and other migratory birds during migration. The variety of habitat types is maintained to ensure continued wildlife diversity.
Public use includes wildlife observation, interpretation, environmental education, and hunting and fishing.