Ridgefield NWR has a total of 5,218 acres of marshes, grasslands
and woodlands. Preservation of the natural Columbia River floodplain
is the management objective of the Carty (2-mile self guided hiking
trail), Roth and Ridgeport Dairy units. The River 'S' (4.2 mile
auto tour route and 1.2 mile seasonal hiking trail) and Bachelor
Island units are managed to maximize habitat for waterfowl and other
The refuge was established, along with 3 other refuges in the Willamette
Valley of Oregon, to secure vital winter habitat for dusky Canada
geese and other wintering waterfowl. With subsequent changes to
nesting habitat and reduction in dusky populations following the
violent earthquake of 1964 in Alaska, the need for secure wintering
habitat became even more important.
Stately sandhill cranes, shorebirds, and a great variety of songbirds
stop at the Refuge during spring and fall migrations. Some bird
species such as mallards, great blue herons, and red-tailed hawks
are year-round residents that nest on the refuge. Black-tailed deer
are the largest mammal on the refuge. Coyote, raccoon, skunk, beaver,
river otter and brush rabbits are occasionally seen.
Inclement Weather Potential Jan. 1, 2013
The Refuge received snow on Dec. 31 and there is the potential
of additional precipitation during this cold temperature period.
Refuge staff will assess the River 'S' entrance road for frozen
surfaces and potentially hazardous conditions on the morning on
New Year's Day. Depending upon conditions, there is a potential
that the River 'S' Unit will be closed on New Year's Day until the
entrance road's condition improves.
The Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge post e-newsletters
and calendars of current events. Please follow this link to learn
more about current events Friends
of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
Comment Period Open for Emergency Translocation of Columbian White-tailed
The Service is proposing an emergency translocation of rare Columbian
white-tailed deer from Julia Butler Hansen (JBH) Refuge for the
Columbian White-tailed Deer near Cathlamet, Washington, to Ridgefield
Refuge. Steamboat Slough dike, a dike owned and maintained by Diking
District #4 along the Columbia River boundary of the JBH Refuge,
is eroding and is likely to fail at any time. A dike breach would
inundate the JBH Refuge mainland unit and place the approximately
100 Columbian white-tailed deer inhabiting the Refuge at extreme
risk. Managers believe that, in the event of a breach and subsequent
flooding, the majority of these deer will be displaced or die setting
recovery efforts back significantly. The proposed emergency translocation
is an attempt to minimize loss of deer and maintain efforts toward
recovery under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Although technology exists to fix the impending dike breach, there
are no funds available for the effort at this time. Plans for a
longer-term remedy are under consideration but cannot be completed
in time to prevent a potential dike breach this winter.
Columbian white-tailed deer are unique to western Washington and
Oregon and are listed as an Endangered Species under the Federal
Endangered Species Act. Ridgefield NWR is within their historical
range and contains suitable habitat. As part of the emergency effort,
the Service has developed a Draft Environmental Assessment and opened
a period of public comment. That document can be found on the viewed
by following this link; CWTD
Draft Environmental Assessment. All comments must be received
by January 2, 2013. A Final Environmental Assessment addressing
all comments will be published on the JBH Refuge website in early
Interagency Military Pass
To show appreciation for those who serve in the U.S. Military,
on May 19 – Armed Forces Day – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
will begin issuing an annual pass offering free entrance for active
duty military members and their dependents to Ridgefield National
Wildlife Refuge and other fee units of the Refuge System, as well
as National Parks and other public lands. Please use this link to
learn more: Military Pass.
River S Unit Access Project
In 2009 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published the
Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) for the Ridgefield Refuge.
The CCP included a Transportation Access Study completed by the
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); that study was a preliminary
review of alternatives providing access improvements to the River
'S' Unit. The USFWS selected a new access to the River S Unit in
their final CCP, meaning a new access point for River S was desired.
A specific location for this access was not selected in the CCP.
The USFWS has now requested FHWA's, Western Federal Lands Division
office in Vancouver WA to lead the River 'S' Unit Access Project
under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). By building
upon past planning efforts, the FHWA will produce an in-depth transportation
analysis to assess the current access location and identify specific
alternative locations to the River S Unit. With this new effort,
FHWA is planning on engaging in a public scoping process under NEPA
to develop the purpose and need and a full range of alternatives
to address access related problems to the River 'S' Unit. For more
information about FHWA process and outreach efforts, please follow
this link to FHWA's
website for this project.
Ridgefield Refuge's Final CCP/EA
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Final Comprehensive Conservation
Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Refuge can be reviewed
at the following website: Ridgefield
River 'S' Unit Discovery Audio Tour
New to the River 'S' Auto Tour is a companion Discover Audio Tour
with information about the Refuge, its wildlife and its resources.
The Discover Audio Tour is available for loan during your visit
to the Auto Tour Route from the Visitor Contact Station. Each track
on the cd corresponds to a series of numeric signs along the Auto
Tour Route. It can also be downloaded as a pod cast to your portable
media device by visiting the web site for the Friends
of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
GeoAdventure is a free group activity kit that includes a GPS unit
and a bag of clues designed for ages 12 and up. Great for scout
troops, families, and other groups. Follow this link to find out