National Wildlife Refuge
|28908 NW Main Ave.
Ridgefield, WA 98642
Phone Number: 360-887-4106
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Continued . . . Each fall, the refuge comes alive with thousands of ducks, geese, and swans. These birds depart their northern nesting areas and migrate down the Pacific Coast or over the Cascades to escape the harsh Alaskan or Canadian winters. On Ridgefield Refuge, they find precious resting and feeding areas where they spend the winter preparing to meet the demands of spring migration and the nesting season.
The refuge provides habitat for several federally endangered and threatened species, including nesting and wintering bald eagles, visiting peregrine falcons and Aleutian Canada geese. Bachelor Island contains one of the largest great blue heron colonies in the Pacific Northwest.
The refuge's marshes, grasslands, woodlands, pastures and croplands are characterized by two types of management--"natural" and agricultural.
The floodplains of the Carty Unit and the Roth Unit contain ash, willow, and cottonwood interspersed with marshes and wet/dry meadows, and are flooded by Columbia River waters increased by melting snows (and during high water winters). Basalt outcrops on the Carty Unit form upland knolls above the high water level, which provide habitat for oaks, Douglas-fir, and brilliant spring wildflower displays. The Blackwater Island Research Natural Area, located on the Carty Unit, provides habitat for the endangered plant Howellia aquatilis.
Much of the River S and Bachelor Island Units are protected from flooding by dikes. Both units have historically been farmed to provide a variety of foods for wintering waterfowl. The River S Unit has approximately 17 wetlands manageable with a water delivery system. Many of these shallow wetlands are dominated by the exotic reed canarygrass, introduced into wetlands of the northwest many years ago.
The Ridgeport Dairy Unit on the south end of the refuge was acquired in 1990. It primarily consists of pastures, with ash and blackberries along dikes and a wet meadow.
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