Located in the Great Basin of the Intermountain West, Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a wetland oasis in Nevada's high desert. Water from over 160 springs emanating from the base of the Ruby Mountains collects in marshes and ponds within the refuge, providing 17,000 acres of habitat for migrating and nesting waterfowl and other water-dependent species. These wetlands support the largest population of nesting canvasback ducks west of the Mississippi River outside Alaska, and are an important feeding and resting stop in both the Pacific and Central Flyways. The marsh is surrounded by 20,632 acres of meadows, grasslands, alkali playa and shrub-steppe uplands. Vegetation in these units is managed to provide nesting cover and feeding areas for a wide variety of wildlife. The refuge is a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area, and a portion of the marsh has also been designated a National Natural Landmark. Depending on water level, various portions of the marsh are best explored by boat or via a network of roads.
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