Chicken Creek Restoration Project

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Beginning July 2019 the Refuge’s Atfalat’i Unit will begin to see some exciting changes. The Refuge and its partners are restoring Chicken Creek to its historic winding path, replanting the area, and letting natural processes take over – all to create additional habitat for a greater variety of wildlife. Though there will be short-term disruptions to the public during the project it will result in long-term improved visitor experiences overall.

For more information about this and other Refuge improvement projects, visit




Beginning July 2019, heavy equipment will be visible on the wetland as contractors begin to stage large woody debris near the lateral ditch road for use in the restoration project. At that time, the straight section of East-West trail between the Refuge Wayside and the North-South crossing trail will be permanently closed. Simultaneously, the new Wetland Seasonal Trail will open, providing new views of the Refuge and an additional ½ mile of trail.


The project will begin mid-July 2019. It is broken out into two phases that will span two years. Phase 1 actions include excavation of the former Creek channel (recreating the historic path of Chicken Creek), placement of large woody debris in the new channel and associated floodplain, permanently removing the section of East-West trail between the wayside and North-South crossing trail, and planting of native vegetation.

Phase 2, beginning in summer 2020, will begin with the removal of water control structures and the installation of two new bridge crossings near the wayside and photo blind. Finally, late in the summer, flow from the current Chicken Creek ditch will be diverted into the new excavated channel that was created during Phase 1.


At Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge we actively restore and maintain natural habitats for the benefit of fish and wildlife. To date, the wetlands surrounding the historic Chicken Creek channel have been intensely managed, requiring a high level of human intervention in an effort to mimic a natural floodplain. Once the Creek is restored to its historic alignment, Mother Nature will do most of the heavy lifting to maintain natural stream and floodplain wetland functions on the Refuge’s largest wetland. Over time, the project will increase native plant and animal diversity, as well as abundance, and improve water quality in the Tualatin River.

More Information

To see and read about continued updates regarding the restoration project, and the positive impacts it will have on the wildlife at the Refuge, we have created a comprehensive information resource to keep you up to date with all the changes happening and pertinent news in the coming years. Please visit: