Established in 1994 as the 502nd national wildlife refuge in the United States, the Patoka River Refuge protects one of the most significant bottomland hardwood forests remaining in the Midwest. Over 380 species of wildlife can be found on the Refuge, including nesting bald eagles, the Federally endangered Indiana bat and the State threatened northern copperbelly water snake. At least 20 plant species and 62 other animal species considered threatened, endangered or of special concern by the State of Indiana live within the Patoka River valley. Located within the north south flyzone of the Wabash River Basin, this forested river bottoms refuge is strategically located to provide important resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and neotropical songbirds. Wood duck, whooping cranes, least terns and cerulean warblers are some of the many bird species that visit this Refuge.