Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region





Safety Notice

Contractors will be moving rock to the River ‘S’ Unit for future projects on February 2nd, 5th, and 6th. Escort vehicles will assist with the movement of large transport trucks. Please use caution and offer space to transport vehicels along the entrance road and auto tour route on these days.  

For additional information, please contact the Refuge Office at (360) 887-4106.

Current Events

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.

We need volunteers to help us with many different projects. Click here for volunteer opportunities. Also check out our education programs here!.

Final Environmental Assessment for the Translocation of Columbian White-tailed Deer Available

To support the recovery of the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will translocate up to 35 Columbian white-tailed deer from Puget Island, Washington to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer in 2014. An additional 10 to 20 Columbian white-tailed deer could be translocated in 2015. Please see the Translocation Press Release for more details about the Project.

The final Environmental Assessment for the translocation and an accompanying finding of no significant impact is now available to the public. The Service developed a draft EA and solicited public comment from December 12, 2013 to January 12, 2014. During the public comment period, comments were received from 11 entities regarding the Draft Environmental Assessment. The Final Environmental Assessment addressed these comments and comments are discussed in the Response to Comments.

The translocations will occur periodically from approximately January 28 to April 15, 2014. The Service will capture and move the deer in partnership with the Cowlitz Tribe, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Proposed Carty Lake Remedial Action at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prepared a Final Environmental Assessment, Compatibility Determination, and Finding of No Significant Impact to issue a Special Use Permit to the Port of Ridgefield and its agents to implement a remedial action in the southern end of Carty Lake.  The purpose of the Carty Lake remedial action is to address the presence of contamination in sediment found in the southern portion of Carty Lake.  

The documents are available below....

Final Environmental Assessment

Finding of No Significant Impact

Compatibility Determination

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.

River S Unit Access Project

The USFWS and FHWA’s Western Federal Lands Division office in Vancouver, Washington, have been developing a comprehensive understanding of land used, ownerships, rights of way, and environmental issues by gathering agency input, interviewing area interest groups, and soliciting public comment. Since our last newsletter, FHWA produced an in-depth transportation analysis to assess the current access location, Traffic Impact Assessment of potential new River S access locations, Railroad Crossing Study, Existing Bridge Evaluation, Lake River Navigation Study. Additionally, we identified, developed, and performed initial screening on a range of alternatives locations. Since June 2012, FHWA considered 23 alternatives. At the January 31 open house, the community will have an opportunity to review the alternatives and criteria and weigh in on whether there are additional alternatives or criteria that should be considered. To learn more about the project, please visit the Project Update.

de minimis Section 4(f) Determination

The purpose of River S Access Project is to provide for long-term access that addresses visitor demand and meets the operational and management needs of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex. When compared to the no-build alternative, the proposed action is intended to achieve the following objectives: a) improve the reliability and mobility of public access to and from the River ‘S’ Unit, b) improve the USFWS’s ability to efficiently carry out their operations consistent with their management goals within the Ridgefield Refuge Complex, and c) provide for a transportation solution that is sustainable for the resources on the refuge and the community of Ridgefield. This project is subjext to Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 that states“the Secretary shall not approve any program or project which requires the use of any publicly owned land from a public park, recreation area, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge of national, state, or local significance as determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having jurisdiction thereof, or any land from an historic site of national, State, or local significance as so determined by such officials unless (1) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of such land, and (2) such program includes all possible planning to minimize harm to such park, recreation areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic sites resulting from such use.”

To comply with the Transportation Act, we are providing information to the public and affording an opportunity to review and comment on the effects of the project on the protected activities, features, and attributes of the Section 4 (f) resource.

The de minimis Section 4(f) determination is available for review at:

Comments may be directed to Steve Morrow at (360) 619-7811, by email to stephen.morrow@dot.gov, or in writing to the address below by September 26, 2014.

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 planning documents.

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 more: GeoAdventure

Last updated: January 29, 2015