The Bureau of Land Management has announced publication of a Public Land Order protecting 2,598 acres of public lands at the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge from future mining for 100 years. These protections replace another recently expired order, securing important wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Refuge is one of the best ecologically functioning riparian areas in the Southwestern United States. Though small, it provides important habitat for migratory birds, endangered species, other wildlife, and for wildlife-oriented recreation.

Approximately 90,000 visitors use the wildlife refuge annually, engaging in nature and wildlife observation, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and hunting.

Under the order, the lands are closed to mining, subject to valid existing rights, through a withdrawal from appropriation under the public land laws; 1,464 acres will remain available for leasing under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws.