Habitat Management

Refuge Habitat 512x312

The refuge specific mission is to restore and maintain ecosystem processes that provide for a natural diversity of flora and fauna native to the wetland, steppe and Ponderosa pine communities of Eastern Washington. In order to accomplish this, a Habitat Management Plan (HMP) was developed in the late 1990s.

Both qualitative and quantitative objectives have been established to provide more detailed direction and targets that will need to be met in order to achieve refuge goals. Objectives address limitations to meeting refuge goals identified by the Service, the habitat needs of native wildlife species, and the maintenance of the integrity of the refuge in its ecoregional setting. The habitat needs of wildlife species were addressed using a wildlife guild concept that groups wildlife by their common use of 10 different habitat strata for both breeding and foraging. Because guilds are often large, key management or indicator species were selected for each guild to focus management actions. These species were chosen because of legislative mandate (threatened or endangered), their significance to conserving biodiversity, the critical status of their populations, or the fact that their habitat requirements represent a subset of the membership of their respective guild.

Management strategies have been developed to meet these objectives. These strategies include both manipulative and administrative actions that will be applied over the next 15 - 20 years. Manipulative actions will include restoration of fire through prescribed burning, tree removal utilizing a variety of silvicultural methods, noxious weed control, experimental livestock grazing and haying, water management, wetland restoration, and riparian and grassland vegetation restoration. Administrative actions will primarily involve increased coordination with other public agencies and private landowners to protect the quantity and quality of water entering the refuge and prevent the further isolation of the refuge resulting from increased urbanization of landscape linkages.