USFWS UPDATE for May 2021


Steigerwald Reconnection Project:

The Columbia Dike Trail closure moved closer to Index to allow critical work to be completed by our contractors. The closure is to keep both you and the crews safe and allow contractors the ability to work effectively and efficiently with their time. Please respect this closure so that they can do their job and get us one step closer to opening again.


Levee work continues as both setback levee work has been renewed along with the lowering of the east-west dike. Did you know, a lot of variables had to be in place to carry this work forward including river level, snow pack and the forecast? You can learn more by following us on social media and seeing our sharing of LCEP's explanation. 


Scrapers from project contractor, Rotschy, Inc., begin removing the portion of the existing Columbia River levee.  (May 12, 2021)

First pass of the scrapers removing the dike (C)LCEP from (May 12, 2021)


Complex Headquarters Administration Building and Community Nature Center:

In April, the Refuge and the design team were able meet for the first time onsite and discuss several things including: entrance signage and wayfinding, transition area from bridge to west side of Refuge, layout of the site, and EE shelter on the west side of the bridge and have held multiple Community Focus Groups to engage the community in the design and planning. As we develop plans and designs we are committed to seeking community involvement and look forward building this together. The Center is programmed to be funded for as early as 2023 and the design taken to 100% by the end of this fiscal year.


The Admin building continues to take shape. With walls going up and concrete poured around the site during the previous closure you can really see the site vision coming into play. Staff look forward to the possibility of opening it and returning to the site, possibly before the new year.


The Community has been engaged in multiple focus groups to share their needs for the site of the new Community Nature Center.  Through these conversations we have learned many needs of the community that we are taking into consideration as we work with the design team. The Refuge plans to continue community engagement for visitor enhancements across the Refuge Complex and hope you will all share with us continued needs and visions you have. 


Cedar siding going up on the US Fish and Wildlife Refuge Administrative Building at Ridgefield NWR (April 19, 2021)

Cedar siding nearly completed, (c)USFWS/Mesha Wood


Ranger Question of the Month:

What is the largest mammal spotted at Ridgefield NWR consistently over the last few weeks?

- Coyote

- Columbian White-tail Deer

- Cow

- Horse


If you guessed Horse you are correct. Our Cooperative Farmers are back on site along with their trained dogs and horses, and of course their cattle. While you may not see the horses as often in the public areas, the cattle are likely visible at times from along the Auto Tour Drive, and if you don't believe us, roll down your window and see if you can hear them (or possibly smell them).



Cow managed by farmers at Ridgefield NWR as part of Cooperative Agriculture to meet wildlife management objectives

Cow #18 (C)USFWS/Mesha Wood

Cooperative agriculture — partnering with farmers and ranchers to meet wildlife management objectives — is a long-standing practice on national wildlife refuges (50 CFR 29.2). Cooperative agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and farmers or ranchers may permit grazing by cattle or the growing of grain, hay or other crops at a refuge. The refuge benefits by producing food for wildlife or by improving natural habitat. The farmer profits by harvesting and selling some of the crop. The rancher gains access to grazing land.

Cooperative agriculture is used on refuges only in situations where the Service cannot meet its resource management objectives through the maintenance, management or mimicking of natural ecosystem processes or functions. (https://www.fws.gov/refuges/get-involved/landowners/cooperative-agriculture.html)

 

We are glad to have this crew join us again for another grazing season. They are invaluable to our mission and what we can achieve together. The cattle will depart the Refuge in early October as fall migration begins. Cooperative Agriculture was an important part of management of Steigerwald previously, but has been halted during the Steigerwald Reconnection Project. 


Trail Tip:

Ticks are out! Don't let them burrow in! As you wander trails near and far, this is a reminder to always check for ticks. Learn more how to protect yourself at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/communityandenvironment/pests/ticks


....But don't let them scare you. There are plenty of reasons to get out as also are Turkey Vultures, nesting Purple martins and Osprey,  Columbia White-tailed deer fawns, and turtles on the sunny days (at Ridgefield!).


Columbia White-tailed Deer feeding in a field next to the Auto Tour route at Ridgefield

Columbian White-tailed deer grazing in field along the River 'S' Auto Tour at Ridgefield NWR (C) USFWS/ Mesha Wood

USFWS UPDATE for May 2021


Steigerwald Reconnection Project:

The Columbia Dike Trail closure moved closer to Index to allow critical work to be completed by our contractors. The closure is to keep both you and the crews safe and allow contractors the ability to work effectively and efficiently with their time. Please respect this closure so that they can do their job and get us one step closer to opening again.


Levee work continues as both setback levee work has been renewed along with the lowering of the east-west dike. Did you know, a lot of variables had to be in place to carry this work forward including river level, snow pack and the forecast? You can learn more by following us on social media and seeing our sharing of LCEP's explanation. 


Scrapers from project contractor, Rotschy, Inc., begin removing the portion of the existing Columbia River levee.  (May 12, 2021)

First pass of the scrapers removing the dike (C)LCEP from (May 12, 2021)


Complex Headquarters Administration Building and Community Nature Center:

In April, the Refuge and the design team were able meet for the first time onsite and discuss several things including: entrance signage and wayfinding, transition area from bridge to west side of Refuge, layout of the site, and EE shelter on the west side of the bridge and have held multiple Community Focus Groups to engage the community in the design and planning. As we develop plans and designs we are committed to seeking community involvement and look forward building this together. The Center is programmed to be funded for as early as 2023 and the design taken to 100% by the end of this fiscal year.


The Admin building continues to take shape. With walls going up and concrete poured around the site during the previous closure you can really see the site vision coming into play. Staff look forward to the possibility of opening it and returning to the site, possibly before the new year.


The Community has been engaged in multiple focus groups to share their needs for the site of the new Community Nature Center.  Through these conversations we have learned many needs of the community that we are taking into consideration as we work with the design team. The Refuge plans to continue community engagement for visitor enhancements across the Refuge Complex and hope you will all share with us continued needs and visions you have. 


Cedar siding going up on the US Fish and Wildlife Refuge Administrative Building at Ridgefield NWR (April 19, 2021)

Cedar siding nearly completed, (c)USFWS/Mesha Wood


Ranger Question of the Month:

What is the largest mammal spotted at Ridgefield NWR consistently over the last few weeks?

- Coyote

- Columbian White-tail Deer

- Cow

- Horse


If you guessed Horse you are correct. Our Cooperative Farmers are back on site along with their trained dogs and horses, and of course their cattle. While you may not see the horses as often in the public areas, the cattle are likely visible at times from along the Auto Tour Drive, and if you don't believe us, roll down your window and see if you can hear them (or possibly smell them).



Cow managed by farmers at Ridgefield NWR as part of Cooperative Agriculture to meet wildlife management objectives

Cow #18 (C)USFWS/Mesha Wood

Cooperative agriculture — partnering with farmers and ranchers to meet wildlife management objectives — is a long-standing practice on national wildlife refuges (50 CFR 29.2). Cooperative agreements between the Fish and Wildlife Service and farmers or ranchers may permit grazing by cattle or the growing of grain, hay or other crops at a refuge. The refuge benefits by producing food for wildlife or by improving natural habitat. The farmer profits by harvesting and selling some of the crop. The rancher gains access to grazing land.

Cooperative agriculture is used on refuges only in situations where the Service cannot meet its resource management objectives through the maintenance, management or mimicking of natural ecosystem processes or functions. (https://www.fws.gov/refuges/get-involved/landowners/cooperative-agriculture.html)

 

We are glad to have this crew join us again for another grazing season. They are invaluable to our mission and what we can achieve together. The cattle will depart the Refuge in early October as fall migration begins. Cooperative Agriculture was an important part of management of Steigerwald previously, but has been halted during the Steigerwald Reconnection Project. 


Trail Tip:

Ticks are out! Don't let them burrow in! As you wander trails near and far, this is a reminder to always check for ticks. Learn more how to protect yourself at: https://www.doh.wa.gov/communityandenvironment/pests/ticks


....But don't let them scare you. There are plenty of reasons to get out as also are Turkey Vultures, nesting Purple martins and Osprey,  Columbia White-tailed deer fawns, and turtles on the sunny days (at Ridgefield!).


Columbia White-tailed Deer feeding in a field next to the Auto Tour route at Ridgefield

Columbian White-tailed deer grazing in field along the River 'S' Auto Tour at Ridgefield NWR (C) USFWS/ Mesha Wood