UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge

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UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Map showing the location of UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge
Map showing the location of UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge
Location Phillips County, Montana, USA
Nearest city Great Falls, MT
Coordinates 47°36′00″N 107°55′00″W / 47.6°N 107.91667°W / 47.6; -107.91667Coordinates: 47°36′00″N 107°55′00″W / 47.6°N 107.91667°W / 47.6; -107.91667
Area 56,048 acres (22,682 ha)
Governing body U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge is a 56,048 acres (22,682 ha) protected area that is located in central Montana, United States. The refuge, located at the extreme southernmost tip of Phillips County, is managed and bordered on three sides by the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and the Fort Peck Reservoir on the Missouri River. The UL Bend Wilderness comprises almost half the refuge and provides a high level of protection to the most remote regions. This refuge is remote, requiring travel by gravel and dirt roads that can be difficult to navigate during inclement weather. A large population of bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn and mule deer inhabit the refuge. Prairie dogs are abundant and are the primary food source for the black-footed ferret, which is listed as an endangered species.

The Black-footed ferret has been reintroduced into the refuge after nearing extinction yet the sustainability of this relocated species is not yet known, and there are only 1,000 remaining in breeding compounds and perhaps 100 in the wild. Researchers in 2002 were only able to locate a total of 5 ferrets in the entire refuge.

UL Bend Wilderness is a 20,819-acre (8,425 ha) wilderness area within the refuge that was established in 1976 to provide a higher level of protection to the more remote sections. The refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The refuge is an integral part of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

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