U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Ridgefield
National Wildlife Refuge


28908 NW Main Ave.
Ridgefield, WA   98642
E-mail: eric_anderson@fws.gov
Phone Number: 360-887-4106
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/ridgefieldrefuges/ridgefield/
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  History
Continued . . .

Ridgefield Refuge was established in 1965 to provide wintering habitat for the dusky subspecies of Canada goose. This large, dark-breasted goose had recently undergone a crisis created by nature. A violent earthquake rocked southern Alaska in 1964, elevating the Copper River Delta by 6 feet. In a matter of minutes, the primary nesting area for dusky Canada geese was permanently changed.

Over time, the marshy coastal wetlands that had been nesting habitat for dusky Canada geese were invaded by willows and alders. The resulting shrub thickets provided perfect cover for hungry brown bears and coyotes, allowing them to approach nesting geese without being noticed. The altered habitat and increased predation greatly reduced the geese's success in hatching and raising their young. This resulted in a dramatic decline in the dusky Canada goose population.

Although the effects of the earthquake on the Copper River Delta could not be reversed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took measures to ensure that dusky Canada geese would have secure wintering habitat. Dusky Canada geese winter along the lower Columbia River and in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Establishment of Ridgefield Refuge secured vital wintering habitat for geese.


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