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A pile of gravel and crushed asphalt
PUBLIC NOTICE - Small Lot Sale

Turnbull NWR is hosting a small lot sale of approximately 300 yards of mixed gravel and crushed asphalt from a former building foundation demolished in 2023. Full details can be found online.

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A stand of potted trees sitting in a nursery
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge Seeks Volunteer Assistance with Restoration Projects

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service), in conjunction with the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program, is seeking volunteers to assist with tree potting events throughout the month of April at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). Volunteers are integral to completing the Service mission of “working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.” 

Beginning April 9, refuge staff will be hosting single-day tree potting sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Volunteers will spend a half or full day assisting refuge staff potting native trees such as aspen, hawthorn, and cottonwood. These trees, once rooted, will then be used in habitat restoration projects both on and off refuge. Plantings typically occur in the fall with assistance from non-profit partners and volunteers. Over the past decade, tens of thousands of trees have been planted across the greater Spokane County area. 

These potting sessions are family-friendly and open to all ages. Large groups are welcome with advance notice. Participants are asked to wear appropriate clothing (long pants, closed toe shoes) and provide their own food and water. Refuge staff will provide all the potting equipment, including gloves. No prior experience is necessary to volunteer. Actual dates and times can be viewed via the events tab. 

There will also be a larger event held at the refuge on Saturday, April 20, to celebrate Earth Day. Partners including the Friends of Turnbull NWR and The Lands Council will be present. Activities on the 20th include tree potting, planting, guided walks, and fence removal.

For more information about the Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program, including restoration projects on lands outside of Turnbull, please contact Brian Walker, Private Lands Biologist, at brian_walker@fws.gov or (509)-559-3031.

For more information about volunteering at Turnbull NWR or to RSVP for a tree potting session, please contact Ranger Josh, Visitor Services Manager, at joshua_contois@fws.gov or (509)-559-3034. 

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 23,000 acres in eastern Washington on the edge of the Columbia River Basin. The Channeled Scablands ecosystem that predominates the Refuge is unique within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Ponderosa pine, wetlands, meadow steppe and riparian habitat dominate the landscape. The refuge is approximately a 40-minute drive from Spokane, Washington. An abundance and diversity of wildlife and wildflowers awaits the traveling visitor.
Friends of Turnbull NWR Seek Volunteer Assistance

The Friends of Turnbull NWR are recruiting volunteers to assist with staffing the nature store. Shifts are generally 4 hours. Openings are available every day. Applicants will go through an application and reference check process. For more information, please contact Lorna Kropp, President of Friends, at president@fotnwr.org.

Visit Us

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is open between 6 am and 6 pm from November - April and between 6 am and 9 pm from May - October. Entrance the refuge is free. Visitors will find information on the refuge’s history, wildlife, and management at the interpretive kiosks at the refuge’s entrance, public restrooms, headquarters, and trailheads. The visitor contact station offers additional information and hands-on activities as well as books and other gift ideas at the Friends of Turnbull nature store. Over 10 miles of hiking trails, including 3 accessible trails, are available in the public use area. Blackhorse Lake offers an accessible boardwalk that allows all visitors easy lake viewing. All visitors are required to stay on designated trails and roads March 1 through August 15.

Location and Contact Information

      A woman and a young girl look through binoculars into the distance
      Wildlife Viewing Tips

      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 riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about 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.

      About Us

      Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is located within a globally unique geological area known as the Channeled Scablands, created by massive scouring from ice age floods approximately 15,000 years ago. An extensive complex of deep permanent sloughs, semi-permanent potholes, and seasonal wetlands formed in the depressions left in the scoured landscape, while soils only centimeters thick on upland sites support ponderosa pine forests interspersed with grassland (steppe) communities on exposed basalt cliffs. Aspen is scattered throughout the area. The juxtaposition of all these contrasting habitats in such close proximity is unique to the Channeled Scablands and creates conditions of exceptional wildlife and plant diversity. 

      Tours

      To schedule a program, tour, or field trip of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, contact Ranger Josh at 509-559-3034, or via email at joshua_contois@fws.gov.

      What We Do

      Every national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
      A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

      Learn more about national wildlife refuge
      was created for a special purpose. Some were created to protect migratory birds, others to protect threatened or endangered species or unique habitats, while others fulfill another special purpose. Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect migratory waterfowl, with a more recent focus on redhead ducks. All activities allowed on the refuge must be evaluated to make sure each activity will not conflict with the reason the refuge was founded.

      Services
      Kayakers navigating a swamp full of trees and lily pads.

      Some 30 national wildlife refuges  charge visitors a nominal entrance fee (generally $3-$5 daily)  to cover road and facility maintenance.  If you are a regular visitor or would like to visit other public lands, you could save by buying an America the Beautiful Federal...

      A pair of redheads floating 2022-2023 Duck Stamp by Jim Hautman

      Do you want to be part of one of this country's oldest and most successful conservation efforts? Do you want to connect with your community and help facilitate outdoor recreation and support youth conservation education programs?

      Selling Federal Duck Stamps and Junior Duck Stamps at...

      Children in yellow shirts run down a path or trail at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge

      The Every Kid Outdoors program allows 4th-graders to see America’s natural wonders and historic sites for free.

      Annual 4th Grade Pass

      Cost: Free, non-transferable, valid for the duration of the 4th-grade schoolyear though the following summer (September-August).

      ...

      Our Organization

      The mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is "working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."

      Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge has numerous programs to effectively manage wildlife and habitat native to this ecosystem and to provide visitor services compatible to our refuge's mission and goals. Wildlife Management-related programs include fire management, forest restoration, water and wetland management, private lands conservation, invasive species invasive species
      An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

      Learn more about invasive species
      control, inventory and monitoring, and wildlife population management. To assist us in meeting our management goals and objectives we provide environmental education and volunteering opportunities.

      A bright blue sky obstructed by fluffy white clouds reflected off of a stream shot from inside a kayak
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 570 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.
      Smoke from a prescribed fire enters the sky.
      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages fire safely and cost-effectively to improve the condition of lands while reducing the risk of damaging wildfires to surrounding communities. This balanced approach to fire management benefits people and wildlife.
      Partners for Fish and Wildlife: Nevada Coordinator Susan Abele Meets with Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Member to Conduct a Site Visit at Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation
      The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides free technical and financial assistance to landowners, managers, tribes, corporations, schools and nonprofits interested in improving wildlife habitat on their land. Since 1987, we have helped more than 30,000 landowners to complete more than 50,...

      Our Species

      Turnbull supports a large variety of wildlife. Over 200 different kinds of birds have been recorded on the refuge. Of prime importance, the refuge conserves habitat for 25 species of nesting and migrating waterfowl including ducks geese and swans. Neotropical migratory songbirds, shorebirds and other water birds are found in abundance in riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      areas and wetlands. Mammals include moose, Rocky Mountain elk, white-tailed and mule deer, coyote, badger, river otter, porcupine, muskrat, beaver, bobcat and cougar. Numerous small mammals ranging from shrews to Columbian ground squirrels abound in different refuge habitats as well as a dozen reptile and amphibian species. The Channeled Scablands is a great haven for the 11 species of bats that have been documented at the refuge. A partial list of the most common, charismatic, or significant species can be found on iNaturalist. A complete list of species is listed at the bottom of the species page.

      A green Spalding's catchly plant surrounded by tall brown grass

      Spalding's catchfly (Silene spaldingii) is an herbaceous perennial in the pink family (Caryophyllacea). The species is endemic to the Palouse region of south-east Washington and adjacent Oregon and Idaho, and is disjunct in northwestern Montana and British Columbia, Canada. This species is found...

      FWS Focus
      Trumpeter swan and young swimming in Pablo day use pond

      The trumpeter swan is a majestic bird, with snowy white feathers; jet-black bill, feet, and legs; and 8-foot wingspan. At close range, a thin orange-red line can be seen on the lower part of the bill. The trumpeter is often confused with the smaller, more northerly tundra swan, especially where...

      FWS Focus

      Our Library

      Be sure to check out all of the past stories and news from the refuge!

      Crops of wheat growing on the top of a flood-carved mesa are a green contrast to the surrounding drier landscape.
      Geologists couldn't account for the strange landforms of eastern Washington State. Then a high school teacher dared to question the scientific dogma of his day.

      Get Involved

      Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community by doing what you love. National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban communities to make a lasting difference. Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.

      Projects and Research

      Turnbull’s focus includes restoring and maintaining the native ecosystem processes of the Channeled Scablands. Habitat on the refuge is managed to sustain the diversity of flora and fauna native to this unique ecosystem. To achieve habitat diversity, the refuge reintroduces fire to fire-dependent plant communities, restores wetlands, deploys invasive species invasive species
      An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

      Learn more about invasive species
      control, and plants native vegetation. Research is conducted on various habitats and wildlife to direct future management. Elk is also carefully managed through a limited-entry annual hunt to ensure a healthy regeneration of riparian riparian
      Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

      Learn more about riparian
      forests.