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Cold Springs History

Cold Springs History

Earth-Filled Dam

Really like history? Fascinated with engineering trivia? Insomnia? This is the page for you. Learn about the making of the Cold Springs NWR and Dam.

History of Cold Springs Refuge & Dam

About the Complex

Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

The Mid-Columbia River Refuges are eight refuges within the Columbia Basin.

Cold Springs is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Learn more about the complex 

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System

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The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

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Of Interest

  • Ospreys & Baling Twine

    Osprey In Nest

    Osprey are common along our rivers and lakes—anywhere there is water and fish. Unlike most other birds, they make little attempt to hide their nests, making it easy to follow a nest from egg laying right through the young leaving the nest to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, the manner in which ospreys build their nests clashes with our propensity to litter. In the wild, ospreys often line their nests with lichens, mosses and grasses. However, they will readily use substitute materials, which, sadly, often means baling twine and fishing line. The problem is it can kill them. All too often, they become entangled in the line, suffering gruesome deaths by strangulation or starvation. Researchers at the University of Montana estimate that as much as 10 to 30 percent of osprey chicks and adults in some areas are killed by this baling twine, fish nets, or fishing line. Every year, we’re called to rescue an entangled osprey, but we often arrive too late, or don’t have the resources to pull off a rescue. Many utility companies, such as the Benton REA, have been wonderful partners in helping us rescue ospreys, but we really need your help. When you’re outside, pick up any twine, rope, fishing line, etc.—you may just be saving one of these magnificent birds from a cruel death.

    University of Montana Osprey Project
  • It's All About The Water

    Rain

    It’s all about water management at Cold Springs NWR. There are several seasonally flooded wetlands associated with the reservoir and Memorial Marsh, a small, 125-acre managed wetland. Cold Springs Reservoir itself is fed by the natural drainages of Cold Springs Creek and Despain Gulch, but the vast majority of the reservoir water is from a canal linking the reservoir to the Umatilla River. Water management of the reservoir is completely controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation, and reservoirs are managed for irrigation rather than wildlife. As such, the FWS spends considerable effort in moving water around to offset how the BOR manages water. One example is Memorial Marsh, which is associated with Despain Gulch as it feeds into the reservoir. The wetland is managed as a moist soil management area, growing about five acres of millet per year. Because of the careful management of water, Memorial Marsh is heavily used by migrating and nesting ducks. As a result, this area is popular for a variety of recreational pursuits.

Page Photo Credits — American Avocet - Images In The Wild, Barn Owlets - Kevin Keatley, Striped Skunk - Becky Gregory
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2015

Events

  • 2015 Events Calendar

    Snowy Owl - EventsJanuary 01, 2015

    We've summarized our of events for you in PDF format. Things do change, so please look at the event details in the calendar.

    2015 Events Calendar (PDF)
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