National Wildlife Refuge System

Happy Birthday Ankeny Refuge!

Peregrine falcons are among the many birds visitors may see at Ankeny Refuge, OR.
Credit: Jim Leonard

January 16, 2015 - Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, OR, celebrates its 50th anniversary this week, a “little oasis,” says deputy project leader Laila Lienesch. “It’s close to a city (Salem), but when you are on it, you forget. It’s a cool little place.”

Established to provide high quality wintering habitat for geese, especially the dusky Canada goose, Ankeny Refuge has cooperative agreements with many local farmers.  In the Willamette Valley, often considered the grass seed capital of the world, geese feed off the grass and farmers harvest whatever is left to plant and produce more seed. 

The refuge is also collaborating with the Salem Audubon Society to build an outdoor classroom-nature center on the refuge.  It is being designed now, with the first outdoor classroom near Peregrine Marsh expected to open in 2016. Lienesch says the bond between the refuge and the surrounding community has strengthened as more school groups visit and trails and signage are improved. “People see it more as their refuge and not just for the geese,” says Lienesch.

The Oregon chub thrives in Willow Marsh at Ankeny Refuge, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing the fish from the list of threatened species.
Credit: USFWS

Ankeny Refuge has also contributed to the proposed removal of the Oregon chub from the list of threatened species.  “Absolutely,” says Lienesch. “We keep Willow Marsh pond as chub habitat, by adding water in the summer when temperatures increase and by keeping predatory fish out of the pond.”

Visitors come to Ankeny for its diverse bird population, especially in winter – waterfowl, peregrine falcons, other raptors, bald eagles – as well as views of elk and bobcat along the woodland edge and iridescent butterflies in the summer.  Two photography blinds are available.  The refuge has extensive trails around the ponds and marshes, including boardwalks and observation blinds.

The Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex support Ankeny Refuge, as well as other refuges in the valley – William L. Finley and Baskett Slough Refuges.

Ankeny Refuge Trails and Viewing Areas brochure

Willow Marsh
Willow Marsh is maintained as habitat for the threatened Oregon chub. There are trails and observation blinds around the marsh.
Credit: USFWS

Last updated: January 16, 2015