Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
 

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News: REFUGE (CARTY AND RIVER 'S' UNITS) CLOSED APRIL 21 & 24

The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge will be closed on Monday, April 21st and Thursday, April 24th for road improvements. These repairs will impact both the River 'S' and Carty Units for both days. The closures will allow crews to improve the junctions of the public roads with the Refuge entrance roads. Asphalt will be extended down the entrance roads to address persistent potholes caused by cars merging between these roadways.

Notice:

The railroad will be doing track repairs near the entrance to the River 'S' Unit starting April 28th. Equipment and materials will be mobilized to the project on April 28th and 29th, significantly increasing truck traffic along the entrance road. Continued track repair in May will increase traffic volume along the entrance road. Please drive safely and watch for truck traffic along the Refuge entrance road until the end of May.

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!.

Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge - Proposed Oaks Unit Addition

Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to expand the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) approved acquisition boundary to include 88 acres (the Oaks Unit) for the purpose of protecting Oregon white oak woodland, oak savanna, and Oregon white oak/Douglas-fir forest habitats. The Service has prepared a draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (LPP/EA) for public review and comment.

Your input is important to us. It helps us gather information and identify issues affecting you, your community, and the natural resources of Steigerwald Lake Refuge. There is a 30-day open comment period for the draft LPP/EA. The comment period is from April 7 to May 4, 2014. You may submit your comments or concerns by U.S. mail to: Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 457, Ridgefield, WA 98642, or email Christopher_Lapp@fws.gov.

Electronic copies of the Draft Land Protection Plan are available below and printed copies can be provided from the Refuge office upon request. The Service will review and take into consideration all comments received. Following the public comment period, a decision will be made by the Regional Director.

Steigerwald Lake NWR Proposed Oaks Unit Addition: Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment

Planning Update 1; April 2014, Steigerwald Lake NWR Proposed Oaks Unit Addition

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 Environmenal 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 availalbe 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.

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

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: April 16, 2014