Willapa National Wildlife Refuge
Pacific Region
 

Reconnecting Lewis Creek to Willapa Bay as part of the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project

Bear River Estuary Restoration Project

Restoration Goals & Process Progress Reports & Updates Closures

After many years of planning, design and preparation the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge began in July of 2012. In the first phase of the project, the Lewis Unit impoundment will be restored to historic estuarine conditions, increasing open water, intertidal flats, and salt marsh habitat by 160 acres. Restoration will benefit a diverse array of species including chum and Chinook salmon, shorebirds, waterfowl and other migratory birds, as well as contribute to the overall health of Willapa Bay. Learn more about the importance of estuaries. 

Restoration Goals & Process

The goal of habitat restoration is to help rebuild a healthy, functioning natural system. Dike removal is only the first step in the restoration process. Restored sites generally take five years or longer to develop full wetland plant cover and continue to transform for many more years. 

Phase 1 Dike and fish ladder removal at Lewis Unit to restore 160 acres of estuary.
Phase 2 Dike and fish ladder removal at Porter Point to restore 145 acres of estuary.
Phase 3 Rebuild interior dike within the Riekkola Unit.
Phase 4 Removal of the outer dike and tide gate at the Riekkola Unit to restore 200 acres of estuary. 

We plan to begin Phase 2 during the summer of 2013.  No schedule has been set for Phases 3 and 4. They will be implemented as funding permits.

Closures

The Lewis Unit is closed to public access. Riekkola and Porter Point Units are open. Please note use closures between October 13, 2012 and January 27, 2013, Riekkola and Porter Point Units are open:

Sunday, Monday and Thursday for duck hunting
Tuesday & Friday for wildlife observation
Wednesday & Saturday for goose hunting

Progress Reports & Updates

Restoration work is on-going. We invite you to check back for project reports and updates.

Phase 1 of the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project is complete!

Least Sandpipers flock to the newly restored estuary.

Least sandpipers flock to the newly restored estuary/USFWS Photo
Ducks using the restored estuary at dusk. Ducks enjoy the newly restored estuary at dusk/USFWS Photo
The first high tides enter the Lewis Unit. First high tides enter the Lewis Unit/USFWS Photo
August brought summer weather, restoration of stream connections and the return of migrant shorebirds. These long-distance fliers couldn't wait to try out this newly restored estuary habitat! Shorebirds flock to the newly retored stream connections at the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project.
  Restored stream connection - part of the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project
  Resored stream connection - part of the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project
Dike material is removed and the surfaced graded - one step closer to becoming restored estuary habitat. Dike Material is removed and the surface graded to become estuary habitat.
Week of July 30, 2012 - A cross dike is removed and the material is used to fill the borrow ditch. A cross dike is removed with a dozer and the material used to fill the borrow ditch.
Week of July 23, 2012 - A fish ladder is removed.
Week of July 16, 2012 - Work has begun. Escavators work together on the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project.
  Lewis Stream is reconnected to Willapa Bay as part of the Bear River Estuary Restoration Project.

 

Last updated: March 12, 2013