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Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge




Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
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General Information

Description - Ruby Lake NWR lies in the southern portion of Ruby Valley in Elko and White Pine counties of northeastern Nevada. The refuge is in a closed hydrologic basin at an elevation of 6,000 feet and lies along the eastern flank of the steep and rugged Ruby Mountains.

The refuge consists primarily of marsh and is bordered by meadows, grasslands, seasonal alkali wetlands, and shrub steppe uplands. The marsh is a remnant of an ancient, 200-foot-deep lake and is supplied with water from over 160 springs emerging from the base of the Ruby Mountains.

The refuge is one of the most important waterfowl nesting areas in the Great Basin and Intermountain West. During spring migration birds converge on the refuge from the Humboldt River drainage to the west, Owens Valley to the southwest, the Great Salt Lake to the east, the Klamath Basin to the northeast and the Colorado River and Imperial Valleys to the south.

Over 200 bird species including 25 species of waterfowl use the refuge during migration and for nesting and feeding. The refuge is an important breeding area for sandhill cranes, canvasback and redhead ducks, and introduced trumpeter swans. Because of the biological diversity and pristine condition of the habitat, the South Marsh, which is the largest wetland unit on the refuge, was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1972 by the National Park Service.

Wetlands and uplands are managed to provide a variety of habitats for breeding and migrating birds and other wildlife of the Great Basin ecosystem. Habitat management tools include prescribed fire, grazing, haying, irrigation, and water level manipulation. Public use has been as high as 70,000 visitors, most of them anglers pursuing introduced trout and largemouth bass.

Attractions - Ruby Lake NWR lies in the southern portion of Ruby Valley in Elko and White Pine counties of northeastern Nevada. The refuge is in a closed hydrologic basin at an elevation of 6,000 feet and lies along the eastern flank of the steep and rugged Ruby Mountains.

Refuge roads are open, unless otherwise posted to visitors who enjoy wildlife observation, photography, sightseeing, fishing and migratory bird hunting.

The refuge provides good opportunities to view wildlife. The best time to observe and photograph waterfowl and their young occurs from late May through July. Canada geese's hatch first, followed by mallards and canvasbacks. September and October bring concentrations of up to 25,000 ducks and as many coots. These concentrations are best observed from the dikes. A separate leaflet is available and includes a checklist of refuge birds and other wildlife.

Because the refuge covers a variety of habitats including rough, uneven terrain, deep water, dense stands of bulrush (tules), wet meadows and ditches, the ease of access varies by area. also, rainfall can make roads and fields muddy and slippery.

Please note: Disabled individuals are encouraged to consult the refuge manger for suggestions on visiting the refuge safely or for further assistance.


The refuge consists primarily of marsh and is bordered by meadows, grasslands, seasonal alkali wetlands, and shrub steppe uplands. The marsh is a remnant of an ancient, 200-foot-deep lake and is supplied with water from over 160 springs emerging from the base of the Ruby Mountains.


The refuge is one of the most important waterfowl nesting areas in the Great Basin and Intermountain West. During spring migration birds converge on the refuge from the Humboldt River drainage to the west, Owens Valley to the southwest, the Great Salt Lake to the east, the Klamath Basin to the northeast and the Colorado River and Imperial Valleys to the south.


Over 200 bird species including 25 species of waterfowl use the refuge during migration and for nesting and feeding. The refuge is an important breeding area for sandhill cranes, canvasback and redhead ducks, and introduced trumpeter swans. Because of the biological diversity and pristine condition of the habitat, the South Marsh, which is the largest wetland unit on the refuge, was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1972 by the National Park Service.


Wetlands and uplands are managed to provide a variety of habitats for breeding and migrating birds and other wildlife of the Great Basin ecosystem. Habitat management tools include prescribed fire, grazing, haying, irrigation, and water level manipulation.


Public use has been as high as 70,000 visitors, most of them anglers pursuing introduced trout and largemouth bass.

Recreation - Facilities in this USDI Fish and Wildlife National Refuge includes; wildlife viewing, bird watching, nature study, scenic viewing, camping, fishing, picnicking and geology.

Climate - Seasonal temperatures vary greatly with the region, from hot summers to cold winters. Summer temperatures can reach 90 degrees during the day, with winter daytime temperatures only about 40 degrees.

Location - From Elko travel 65 miles south along State Route 228.

Directions from Elko: Travel south from Elko along State Route 228

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Year-round.


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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Biology
Yes
ICON Viewing Wildlife
Yes


More Information

Contact Information:
Ruby Lake NWR, HC 60 Box 860 , Ruby Valley, NV, 89833-9802, Phone: 702-779-2237
, kim_hanson@fws.gov

Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, HC 60 Box 860 , Ruby Valley, NV, 89833, Phone: 702-779-2237, Fax: 702-779-2370

Additional Information:
Central Nevada - This area spans the center of Nevada, straddling U.S. Hwy. 50. It is often referred to as Pony Express Territory because U.S. Hwy. 50 parallels the historic Pony Express route.
Nevada Lakes and Reservoirs - There are several lakes and reservoirs located within Nevada. This provides opportunities for visitors to participate in varying recreational activities such a waters sports and fishing.
Nevada National Wildlife Refuges and Preserves - National Wildlife Refuges and Preserves are scattered throughout Nevada and includes such reserves as the 1.5 million acre Desert National Wildlife Range which is the largest refuge in the 48 contiguous states.
Northern Nevada - Often referred to as "Cowboy Country", Northern Nevada is dominated by the Humboldt River which covers over 300 miles. The area has beautiful areas such as the 113,167 acre Jarbidge Wilderness, the 11,000 acre Rye Patch Reservoir, Angel Lake, Battle Mountain and the Ruby Mountains.

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