Wildlife & Habitat
The refuge provides a variety of habitats including a mosaic of riverine wetlands, large blocks of Columbia River riparian forest, low elevation willow stands, mixed deciduous forests, and mature mid-elevation mixed conifer forests. Many of the lakes, ponds, streams, and seeps of Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge are connected to the Columbia River creating a dymanic and natural wetland system. Water levels of portions of the refuge are maintained by beaver dams impounding deep pools of water garnished from local watersheds and flood backwaters of the Columbia River. The diversity of wetlands and riparain communities supported by the river's natural processes sustain numerous wildlife and fisheries resources.
The refuge is known for seasonally high concentrations of wintering tudra swans. Other waterbirds and waterfowl can be seen from the Refuge overlook bordering State Route 14. The panoramic views across the gorge allows for the spotting of eagles, osprey, vultures, hawks, and other soaring birds. The large mature riparain habitats support nesting songbirds from shrub nesting flycathers to high canopy vireos. At the observation platform a juxtaposition of deciduous and conifer forests attracts a varied assemblage of birds.