Description - Malheur NWR is an important nesting area for greater sandhill cranes, colonial waterbirds such as white faced ibis and eared grebes, various waterfowl species, bobolinks, and shorebirds. The refuge is located in Harney County in the high desert of southeastern Oregon.
The refuge has several distinct zones: the Blitzen Valley, the Lakes, and the Double-O. Malheur Lake is a large freshwater marsh. The Blitzen River floodplain varies from several hundred feet to a mile in width. Much of the river was channelized during an earlier period by cattle interests. Harney Lake is the low point of the Harney Basin, it has high alkalinity. It is also one of two research natural areas on the refuge. The Double-O has numerous springs in an otherwise arid habitat.
Additional wetlands were created through projects completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and '40s. The flood irrigation systems in the Blitzen Valley and Double-O provide excellent managed habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Riparian zones provide important nesting habitat for species like Willow Flycatcher.
- Spring is the most spectacular season at Malheur. More than 130 species of birds nest on the refuge, while other waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway stop at the refuge to refuel for their journey northward. In February, northern pintail and tundra swan begin to arrive, followed by large flocks of lesser and greater sandhill crane, and flocks of snow goose and Ross' goose.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge include; Environmental education, fishing, hunting, interpretation, photography and wildlife observation.
Climate - Eastern Oregon is generally high desert broken by several mountain ranges. Annual precipitation accumulates to less than 10 inches except for in the mountain ranges which receive higher amounts of winter snow and summer rain. Eastern Oregon experiences much greater temperature extremes than Western Oregon. Summer temperatures often reach 90 degrees F at the lower elevations and winter temperatures commonly drop well below freezing.
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Oregon, south east of Burns. Directions: Take State Highway 78 two miles east of Burns, Oregon. Head south on State Highway 205 for 24 miles to the Narrows RV Park and cafe. Head east on Harney County Road 405 (Narrows to Princeton Road) for 6 miles. Turn left at top of hill into the headquarters area.