Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada
The wetlands that this valley provides is considered to be a pristine habitat for amazing biological diversity in an upland environment. Not only is it pristine for wildlife but also humans as well. Either way you visit this valley you will have to drive on gravel road for a distance. Located 65 miles southeast of Elko or 90 miles northwest of Ely, Ruby Valley is at an elevation of 6,000 feet and is strategically located along migration corridors serving both the Pacific and central flyways. The Refuge itself lies at the southern end of Ruby Valley. The Ruby Mountains are very rugged ( highest point is Ruby Dome at 11,387 feet) and were named after the garnets found by early explorers. These peaks are beautifully mirrored in the valley below on the vast wetlands. The range is part of the Humboldt National Forest. Glaciers gouged out basins and moraines that are now alpine lakes with one of the most beautiful being Lamoille Lake. Headwaters on the southern section of the Rubies drains out to the adjacent Ruby Valley. The valley has many spring sources as well to keep it well hydrated. Once this valley was the bed of a 200 foot deep lake and now it is a network of marshes and shallow ponds which serve as habitat and oasis for hundreds of native and migratory birds, fish and mammal species. In the Rubies, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions all roam. The valley has antelope , mule deer, mountain lions, coyotes, ermines, beaver and a plethora of other species including many bird species that use this area as a habitat. In particular though, this valley is perceived as a waterfowl mecca. The refuge has been identified as one of the 500 Globally Important Bird Areas by the American Bird Conservancy. This pristine marsh, meadows, grasslands, alkali playa and shrub-steppe uplands provides essential habitat for thousands of nesting and migrating waterfowl,songbirds and indigenous wildlife. Canvasback ducks, redhead ducks and trumpeter swans are of particular importance here. Over 229 species of birds make this refuge a home. providing nesting habitat for migratory and native birds is the primary purpose of the refuge.