National Wildlife Refuge
|10995 Hwy 22
Dallas, OR 97338 - 4882
Phone Number: 503-623-2749
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Oregon's Willamette Valley was once a rich mix of wildlife habitats. Valley wetlands were once extensive, with meandering stream channels and vast seasonal marshes. Today, the valley is a mix of farmland and growing cities, with few areas remaining for wildlife.
The 2,492 acre Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge was created to provide vital wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese. Unlike most other Canada geese, duskies have limited summer and winter ranges. They nest on Alaska's Copper River Delta and winter almost exclusively in the Willamette Valley.
Habitat loss, predation, and hunting caused a decrease in their population. Dusky Canada Geese usually appear here first in the fall and use the refuge as their last stop before starting the spring journey back to their Alaska nesting grounds.
The refuge's farmed fields, rolling oak-covered hills, grass fields, and shallow wetlands are home to many wildlife species. A small number of Bald Eagles winter on the refuge. In addition to the abundant bird life, 30 species of mammals, 8 species of amphibians, and 10 species of reptiles occur here. The largest remaining population of Fender's blue butterfly is found on the refuge.
Getting There . . .
On Interstate 5, take exit 253, and proceed west through Salem, toward Dallas, Oregon. Travel west on Highway 22 from the intersection of Highways 22 and 99W, north of Rickreall, Oregon. Proceed about 2 miles and watch for the information and wildlife viewing area on the right.
Click here for a map of the refuge.
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The Willamette Valley refuges incorporate an intensive cooperative farming program in order to provide high protein browse (annual ryegrass, perennial ryegrass and fescue) for seven subspecies of wintering Canada geese, with primary emphasis on the dusky subspecies. Under cooperative agreements, area farmers plant refuge fields.
Some fields are planted annually and others are mowed or burned to produce the tender, nutritious grasses preferred by geese. The geese also need water for resting and foraging habitat. Many refuge wetlands occur naturally; others are created by dikes and levees.
Some refuge wetlands, drained or channelized by previous owners, have been restored in low-lying areas of the refuge to increase diversity and desirability of habitat for wildlife. The majority of wetlands are being managed as moist soil units, to promote growth of wetland food plants (millet, smartweed, sedges, and so on) used as food by waterfowl and other wildlife.
By resting in undisturbed areas on the refuges, wintering geese regain energy reserves required for migration and nesting. This sanctuary reduces depredation problems on neighboring private lands by encouraging waterfowl to use refuge resources. Because of their need for a quiet resting area, waterfowl habitat is closed to public entry while the geese are in residence in order to minimize human disturbance.
Recently, the refuge has increased efforts to restore and expand riparian, wet prairie, upland prairie and oak savannah habitats. The oak savannah habitat on the Refuge supports the largest surviving population of the endangered Fender's blue butterfly which feeds upon the threatened Kincaid's lupine plant.