Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in Aitkin County in east central Minnesota, about five miles south of the community of McGregor. It was established in 1935 to preserve valuable habitat for waterfowl. The most important resource on the refuge is Rice Lake itself, a shallow, 3,600 acre wild rice-producing lake. The refuge has been designated as a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy due to the importance of the lake and its wild rice as a food source to migrating waterfowl, especially ring-necked ducks. The refuge has also been designated as a State Important Bird Area, as part of the larger McGregor Important Bird Area, by the National Audubon Society.
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