National Wildlife Refuge
|2301 Wintel Rd
Jefferson, OR 97352 - 9758
Phone Number: 503-588-2701
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge
Oregon's Willamette Valley was once a rich mix of wildlife habitats. Valley wetlands were once extensive, with meandering stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. Today, the valley is a mix of farmland and growing cities, with few areas remaining for wildlife.
Ankeny Refuge was created to provide vital wintering habitat for Dusky Canada Geese. Unlike most other Canada geese, Duskies have limited summer and winter ranges. They nest on Alaska's Copper River Delta and winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley.
Habitat loss, predation, and hunting caused a decrease in their population. Ankeny Refuge contains about 2,800 acres of flat to gently rolling land near the confluence of the Willamette and Santiam rivers south of Salem, Oregon. The refuge's farmed fields, wetlands, and riparian forest provide a variety of wildlife habitats.
The refuge is open to limited opportunities for wildlife-oriented education and recreation. Ducks, geese, swans, shorebirds, and bald eagles are common in the fall and winter. Other resident birds, like the northern saw-whet owl, attract area bird watchers.
Getting There . . .
Take Interstate 5 Exit 243, Ankeny Hill Road, which is about 10 miles north of Albany and 12 miles south of Salem. Driving west, you will encounter the intersection of Wintel and Ankeny Hill Roads. Both roads will take you to the refuge.
Maps and additional access information may be found at the Ankeny Hill Overlook on Ankeny Hill Road, the Rail Trail Parking Area on Wintel Road or at the Eagle Marsh Wildlife Viewing Kiosk on Buena Vista Road.
Click here for a map of the refuge.
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The Willamette Valley refuges incorporate an intensive cooperative farming program in order to provide high protein browse (annual ryegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescue) for seven subspecies of wintering Canada geese, with primary emphasis on the Dusky subspecies. Under cooperative agreements, area farmers plant refuge fields. Some fields are planted annually and others are mowed or burned to produce the tender, nutritious grasses preferred by geese.
The geese also need water for resting and foraging habitat. Many refuge wetlands occur naturally; others are created by dikes and levees. In some low-lying areas of the refuge, wetlands that were drained or channelized by previous owners have been restored to increase diversity and desirability of habitat for wildlife. The majority of wetlands are being managed as moist soil units, to promote growth of wetland food plants (millet, smartweed, sedges, etc.) used as food by waterfowl and other wildlife.
By resting in undisturbed areas on the refuges, wintering geese regain energy reserves required for migration and nesting. This sanctuary also reduces depredation problems on neighboring private lands by encouraging waterfowl to use refuge resources. Because of their need for a quiet resting area, waterfowl habitat is closed to public entry while the geese are in residence in order to minimize human disturbance. Recently, the refuge has increased efforts to restore and expand riparian forest and wet prairie habitats.