Des Lacs NWR encompasses more than 19,500 acres along the Des Lacs River from the Canadian border to a point eight miles south of Kenmare, North Dakota. A mix of natural lakes and managed wetlands in the valley provide a haven for migrating and nesting waterfowl and marsh birds.
Spring visitors can enjoy the courtship dance of western grebes. Four other species of grebes also nest on the Refuge. During summer, American white pelicans are easy to spot as they feed on small fish. Broods of ducklings of various ages paddle through the marshes. Giant Canada geese commonly nest on the Refuge, producing between 150 and 200 young annually.