Planning For The Future
Public Scoping Period Opens!
The FWS is beginning the process to develop a new management plan—known as a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP)—that will guide the refuge for the next 15 years and beyond. Keep checking back for announcements and draft documents.
Toppenish Preplanning Report
Comments From June 14 Public Scoping Meeting
To provide more for wildlife, Refuge staff uses a variety of carefully chosen habitat management techniques to maintain, recover, or enhance habitat. Management practices are used to mimic and/or enhance natural processes such as flooding and fire. Techniques such as water level manipulation, mowing, and burning are used on the Refuge.
Water level manipulation, a primary habitat management tool, is used to promote the diverse wetland plant growth that provides a variety of food and shelter choices for wildlife. Selected Toppenish Refuge marshes are flooded from September-October through May-June. A system of dikes and water control structures is used to carefully flood the natural wetland basin with water from Toppenish Creek. Deeper water areas offer a safe resting haven for many birds.
In late spring (May-June) water levels are gradually lowered by drawdown and/or evaporation. This develops a productive wetland habitat that best benefits migratory and wintering waterfowl and other wildlife by allowing germination of seed-bearing plants for food and cover.
Prescribed burning is used in a variety of ways on Toppenish Refuge. To keep open water areas from closing in, prescribed burning is used together with disking and plowing to inhibit the regrowth of plants such as reed canary grass which can quickly out-compete native plant species.
In uplands, fire invigorates grasses and nesting cover for waterfowl and other ground nesting birds. It also reduces brush and weed species, increases the amount of grasses and forbs, and creates green browse for migratory geese in both spring and fall.
Mowing, disking, seeding, and the transplanting of native vegetation are additional management techniques used to make the Refuge more attractive to migrating birds and resident wildlife.
A large portion of Toppenish Refuge wetlands have been restored to increase and enhance wetland resources. This multi-year effort required recontouring of wetland basins and the installation of new water control structures, delivery systems and low-level dikes. Land contouring restores the habitat to mimic natural, historic conditions, handle flood flows, and have as much habitat edge as possible. This many-phased restoration project involved many partners including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Washington Department of Fish and Game, the Yakima Indian Nation, and others.
We are just starting to develop a new management plan for Toppenish NWR; refuge plans are called "comprehensive conservation plans." At this point, we're just developing background information, but in the next few months we'll be going out to the public for ideas on management of the refuge. Public involvement and input are important to us and to the planning process, and we hope you will take an active interest in the planning process. Please continue to check this website for updates and announcements concerning the planning process.