Improve Your Experience
Want to see more animals on your trip to Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge? Here are some tips from the "experts."Watching Wildlife
About the Complex
The Mid-Columbia River Refuges are eight refuges within the Columbia Basin.
McNary is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Learn more about the complex
About the NWRS
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.
Learn more about the NWRS
Of Special Interest
The days are turning shorter and the nights colder. Fall is the time of year when wildlife is on the move, preparing for a difficult winter. While winters in the Columbia Basin aren’t that stressful to wildlife, nonetheless creatures here follow the natural instincts of their kind everywhere and are on the move preparing for winter. This is also the time of year when young are dispersing, leaving their birthplace to find territories of their own. Drivers need to slow down and keep a constant watch for wildlife. Haven’t you noticed more dead animals along the road lately? There’s always an upswing of wildlife-vehicle collisions in the fall. So, if getting home 23 seconds sooner is worth squashing a squirrel, mangling a marmot, bashing a beaver, or demolishing a deer, then by all means, keep driving like you’re on the NASCAR circuit. Apart from the permanent damage to wildlife, you’ll incur several hundred dollars worth of damage to your car. So, why don’t you just follow the traffic laws instead? Both your fellow drivers and our wildlife will thank you.
One of the many uses of national wildlife refuges is scientific research into the lives and needs of wildlife, both by FWS researchers, the academic world and occasionally private researchers. On McNary NWR, the FWS has been conducting research into bull trout. Bull trout are salmonid native to the Northwest and are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. On the Walla Walla River, bull trout are captured, PIT tagged (Passive Integrated Transponder), and released back to the river. As the trout move up and down the river (or not), each time they pass by a PIT tag reader, their movement is noted, and FWS scientists in Vancouver, Washington, can track their movements. By knowing how, where and when the bull trout are moving, the FWS can devise and refine plans for their recovery. Just one of the many beneficial uses of your national wildlife refuges.
The clowns of the bird world, on land pelicans are goofy looking with their large orange-red bills, waddle and over-sized feet. Most of the time it looks like they forgot to comb their feathers. But put them in the air, and they become graceful and even elegant as they glide along in search of food.
Page Photo Credits Gray Squirrel - Chuck and Grace Bartlett, Black-billed Magpie - Chuck and Grace Bartlett, Barn Owlets - Kevin Keatley, White Pelican - Ingrid Taylar
Last Updated: Nov 01, 2014