In 1936 the Bureau of Biological Survey (BBS) determined that Bosque del Apache site was suitable for a migratory bird refuge. Condemnation of the land was initiated through the 1931 Migratory Bird Conservation Act and concluded in December 1936. The landowner was paid around $12/acre for about 57,000 acres. The refuge was formally established by executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939.
Between 1939 and 1942 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Work Progress Administration (WPA) sent in teams of relief workers to restore the refuge land under the guidance of the BBS, which became the US Fish & Wildlife Service in 1940. (savespoonbills)
Bosque del Apache NWR is named for an old Spanish land grant. The land went through many changes over the years: sales, investment schemes, and foreclosures, as well as landscape alterations from farming, oil drilling, dams, levees, and irrigation ditches. In 1906 water rights to the Rio Grande were granted to the owners, which later became the basis of the refuge’s senior water rights to the Middle Rio Grande.
The heart of the refuge is flood plain and wetlands along the Rio Grande which are surrounded by a larger area of dry grasslands and foothills, part of the Chihuahuan Desert region.
Tens of thousands of cranes, geese, and ducks winter at the refuge each year.
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Project originally submitted by Shaina Potts on May 6, 2013.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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