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Historically, all Refuge wetlands with the exception Pine Creek were fishless. This condition resulted in an aquatic ecosystem based on the absence of a significant vertebrate predator. The Refuge has no intention to plant nonnative fish since maintaining the biodiversity and proper function of Turnbull wetlands requires that they remain fishless as they were historically. Unfortunately, in recent years, the invasive stickleback has entered some of the refuge's larger wetland systems connected to private lands which has impacted our native fish and invertebrate population.

  • Wildlife Viewing Tips

    Wildlife Observation

    The patient observer will be rewarded with many wildlife viewing opportunities. Early morning and evening are the best times to observe wildlife. Spring migration occurs from mid-March through mid-May and fall migration from September through November. Most waterfowl can be found on wetlands along the auto tour route. A variety of other wildlife may be observed along the trails in the riparian, ponderosa pine forest, or grassland habitats.
    Binoculars, camera, field guides, water, and a lunch will contribute to a pleasant visit. Quietly listen for calls and songs and wait for wildlife to resume their activities. Use your car as a blind for wildlife viewing and photography. Observation blinds may be available to allow a close-up view of wildlife with minimal disturbance.

  • Speckled Dace

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    This dusky to dark olive spotted minnow is widely distributed west of the Rockies. However, this species is now rarely observed on the refuge. Non-native species such as the invasive stickleback is believed to have had an impact. 

  • Redside Shiner

    Redside Shiner

    During the spawning season, males develop a striking pattern of red and yellow on the body. This minnow, distributed west of the Rockies, is one of two native species found on the refuge.

  • Brook Stickleback

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    A survey conducted by Eastern Washington University in 2002, found that brook stickleback and pumpkinseed were the most abundant fish species on the refuge. The stickleback is a prolific breeder and is expanding its range. Its impacts are a significant concern for our native aquatic ecosystems.