The refuge covers 29,370 acres of marshes, sloughs, open water, cropland, and sagebrush uplands along both sides of the Columbia River
in the vicinity of Irrigon
, Oregon and Patterson
The refuge provides nesting area for Great Basin Canadian Geese and several species of ducks. Huge numbers of birds use the refuge. The highest recorded count was 458,000 ducks on November 13, 1983.
Public purposes include wildlife observation, study, and photography, environmental education, waterfowl hunting, pheasant hunting, and fishing. Boating is permitted on the Columbia River. Boats without motors are permitted on refuge ponds. There is no overnight camping on the refuge but there are state parks in the vicinity.