Upper and Lower Lakes WMA is a large developed wetland complex lying between the Grasse River and the Oswegatchie River. This 8757 acre area is located 3 miles west of the village of Canton and 12 miles east of the city of Ogdensburg. The village of Rensselear Falls is on the western edge of the WMA, adjacent to the refuge and Indian Creek Nature Center. It is bounded on four sides by public roads: State Route 68, Irish Settlement Road, County Road 14, and County Road 15.
Parking and trail at Upper and Lower Lakes UMA
The area consists of one major impoundment with a total of 4341 acres of wetland. This wetland consists of both shallow and deep water emergent marsh which includes flooded shrub swamp, cattail, and other emergent plants. Water level control structures stabilize the water levels which contributes to its value as a nesting area for water-dependent birds, a migratory bird concentration area, and valuable wetland furbearer habitat. The remaining habitat is forested upland interspersed with brush land and open meadow. The wooded uplands contain both softwood and hardwood species which are managed through commercial cutting. There are approximately 600 acres of maintained open meadow/grasslands to provide habitat for ground nesting birds. The objective is maintain a habitat that benefits a variety of game and non-game wildlife species.
Many songbirds, waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and birds of prey utilize this area including gamebird species such as grouse, turkey, pheasant, and woodcock. Some of the rare bird species to be found include the northern harrier, common loon, black tern, sedge wren, and osprey. Common mammals found on the area include white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, cottontail rabbit, raccoon, and furbearers such as fisher, beaver, muskrat, mink, and otter.