- The "lake" is actually a 5,800 acre shallow marsh in a closed basin created by the last continental glacier to occupy the area. The gently rolling refuge uplands are dominated by 6,000 acres of native short grass prairie. Approximately 700 acres of former cropland has been planted to dense nesting cover, a mix of tall growing grasses and legumes. Water for refuge marshes is supplied by natural runoff from the small Lake Creek watershed and by water pumped from Muddy Creek, a stream 15 miles west of the refuge. The refuge wetlands support a great variety of water birds with both nesting and migration habitat. Up to 100,000 ducks, 40,000 geese, 5,000 tundra swans, and occasionally bald eagles and peregrines may be observed in migration. Up to 20,000 ducks, 500 canada geese, 10,000 franklin's gulls are produced each year along with many shorebirds, eared grebes, white-faced ibis and other species. A nine mile auto tour route is open to the public for wildlife observation. About 4000 acres is open to public hunting of game birds.
Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located on the western edge of the northern Great Plains near Great Falls, Montana.