Life in Bay Center on Willapa Bay

Living in a maritime fishing village in Southwest Washington state on Willapa Bay

Archive for the ‘Willapa National Wildlife Refuge’ Category

Lewis and Clark National Heritage Area moves forward…what about Chinook Tribe recognition?

Posted by pallix on April 11, 2009

It’s been on my radar to keep an eye out for the progress being made to have this region declared a National Heritage Area.  My interest is more along the lines of what seems a corresponding and relevant action to recognize the Chinook Tribe as a declared Tribe.  To my way of thinking, the naming of  Lewis and Clark National Heritage area,  requires a recognition of the Chinook people as a federally recognized tribe. 

 

Without the friendship and aid of the Chinook people, Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition may well have not survived once they arrived in this area – the mouth of Columbia River where it flows into the Pacific Ocean.  Legislation has been introduced to give recognition to the Chinook Tribe.  That legislation has not moved along; while simultaneously legislation to declared this area a Lewis and Clark National Heritage area seems to be moving along.  To my way of thinking, these are hand in glove actions, complementing each other, and it seems to me it would be hypocritical to have one without the other.

Link to article at Daily Astorian;   excerpt

Having just returned from a trip overseas, David Szymanski, superintendent at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, is canvassing the North Coast to update communities on the proposed National Heritage Area.

He presented to the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners an update on the proposed Columbia Pacific National Heritage Area Wednesday in the Judge Guy Boyington Building. Heritage areas define a region where communities can use federal funds to benefit local economies.

"This project will not go forward until we’ve heard from local governments and the public," Szymanski said.

The Columbia Pacific heritage area would incorporate portions of Clatsop County and Pacific and Wahkiakum counties in Washington.

"People are probably surprised to learn that the National Park Service often has skepticism about National Heritage Areas," Szymanski said. "Some have not been well thought out."

Szymanski said the most important requirement for a heritage area is finding the right coordinating entity. A lot of heritage areas focus on tourism, rather than broader economic development.

ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia was recently selected for the coordinating entity for this heritage area, in large part because the nonprofit organization focuses on investment and capital building.

Posted in 19th Legislative District, 3rd Congressional District, Chinook Nation, Lewis and Clark National Heritage, Native Americans, Neighboring communities, neighbors, Pacific County, Pacific ocean, recreation, U.S. Representative Brian Baird, wetlands, willapa, willapa bay, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wetland Walks; Guide to Washington’s Public Access Wetlands; Pacific County

Posted by pallix on October 9, 2007

Wetland Walks: A Guide to Washington’s Public Access Wetlands

Pacific County

Fort Canby State Park
2 miles southwest of Ilwaco
Contact: Washington State Parks, Region 1, (360) 753-7143
Fort Canby is a 1,700 acre park where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It offers four trails which wind through the forests and headlands. Marsh, swamp, saltflat, and tidal creek areas can be found here. Migratory birds are often seen on the beaches.
Leadbetter Point State Park
Stackpole Road, 3 miles north of Oysterville
Contact: Park Manager, (360) 642-3078
Located at the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, this state park offers a unique blend of natural areas, including dunes, ponds, and marshes. It is best to call ahead for information. No fees for day-use.
Palix River Access Area
1/2 mile south of Palix River Bridge off Highway 101
Contact: Department of Fish and Wildlife, Region 6, (360) 533-9335
An interpretive sign is in a pullout off the east side of the highway, from which the saltflats at the mouth of the Palix River can be viewed. Travel west on the nearby Bay Center Dike loop road to view a variety of other wetland types. No trails or restrooms.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Lewis Unit
4 miles east of Long Beach on Jeldness Road
Contact: Refuge Manager, (360) 484-3482
This refuge unit has freshwater marshes at the south end of the bay which provide habitat for numerous waterfowl.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Reikkola Unit
2 miles east of Long Beach on Yeaton Road
Contact: Refuge Manager, (360) 484-3482
The gravel road ends at a field where you can walk to wetlands. A good example of a diked tideland, this area provides feeding areas for shorebirds and waterfowl. Call ahead to check for seasonal closure.
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, Leadbetter Point Unit
End of Stackpole Road, Oysterville
Contact: Refuge Manager, (360) 484-3482
This site offers a look at a variety of wetland types: marshes, swamps, saltflats and tidal creeks.

Posted in marsh, Pacific County, shorebirds, state parks, tideflats, waterfowl habitat, wetlands, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tacoma News Tribune article about Willapa National Wildlife Refuge; ‘Paradise, So Close to Home’

Posted by pallix on October 4, 2007

Well written article appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Sept 27, 2007 calling attention to Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and beautifully describing the area where we live on pristine Willapa Bay. Aptly titled ‘Paradise, so close to home’ and written by Jeffrey P. Mayor, I am pleased to recommend the article which says better than I can what is beautiful about the region where we have chosen to live.

excerpts;

The mix of ocean beach, tideflats, freshwater marshes, an island dotted with towering cedars and a unique art trail make the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge a worthwhile stop.

Established in 1937 by President Franklin Roosevelt, the refuge now covers more than 26,000 acres and 260 square miles of water.

It’s a birder’s paradise, home to Western snowy plovers and great blue herons. It’s also a rest stop for countless migrating ducks and geese.

It’s a place where kayakers can paddle up to a waterfront campsite on Long Island. In the middle of the island is a 274-acre stand of remnant old-growth Western red cedars.

It’s home to 13 species of amphibians, black bear, deer and elk.

… spending a day exploring the ancient cedar grove, one of the prime attractions on Long Island.

The largest estuarine island on the West Coast, the island covers 5,400 acres. It is home to Sitka spruce and Western hemlock, black bears, elk and deer.

“Long Island is a real treat of a place. The ancient cedars there are pretty unique. They are among the oldest in Washington,” said Yoav Bar-Ness of The Nature Conservancy.

And as the reading finishes reading the article, and visualizing what we know to be true, a bit of a description of a Pacific Northwest paradise – nature as it might have been 100 years or more ago – the article ends with four challenges at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

Four challenges at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

1. Dune ecology and restoration
The issue: In the Leadbetter Point Unit, refuge staff members are dealing with the spread of European beach grass. It was planted to stabilize the sand dunes and has done that job too well.
The impact: The proliferation of the grass has harmed the species that require more open dune terrain, such as the Western snowy plover. That has forced the plovers to nest at the edge of the grasses, making them more susceptible to predators. Also, wind-blown sand covers the eggs the plovers lay on the open beach.
The work: Staff members have partnered with oyster operations in the area. They are using shells to stabilize the beach without use of grass. Charlie Stenvall, project leader at the refuge, said they have been able to clear 85 acres, with a goal of 100 acres.

2. Forest restoration
The issue: Rehabilitating forest areas that have been cut for timber.
The impact:One estimate says that less than 1 percent of the original coastal old growth remains. The loss of old-growth stands has affected wildlife, such as the marbled murrelet.
The work: The refuge is looking to revitalize its forest lands through thinning, reintroduction of declining tree and plant species and eliminating unnecessary forest roads. “We’re trying to return these to an old-growth forest. The time frame is we have to do the work now. But we many not know if we hit it right for 100 years,” Stenvall said.

3. Spartina
The issue: Also known as smooth cordgrass, it’s thought that spartina came to the area in the late 1890s when it was used as packing material. In 1997, 25 percent to 32 percent of Willapa Bay’s nearly 47,000 acres of tidal flats was infested with spartina.
The impact: Spartina reproduces faster, overtaking native plants. Its spread also forces some animals to find new nesting areas, and it often covers feeding and resting areas for migrating birds. It also threatens to overgrow oyster beds throughout the bay.
The work: The refuge has partnered with the state and other agencies. “That goes on ad nauseum. But we are making lots of progress on that,” Stenvall said. He cited a stream where the spartina had been removed, hoping to revive a chum salmon run. Last November the chum failed to show, “but there were thousands of shorebirds in the area where there was a spartina meadow.”

4. Budget
The issue: The refuge’s annual budget is $1.3 million. That has risen just $200,000 in the last five years. In addition, that money also goes to operate the nearby Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge and the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbia white-tailed deer. There are just 13 employees to work at all three refuges.
The impact: A meager budget makes it difficult to meet the six public uses mandated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: environmental education, interpretation, photography, hunting, fishing and wildlife observation. One example is that the refuge’s Salmon Art Trail is not open on weekends because of a lack of staff.
The work: “All the things we’re doing, we couldn’t do them without partnerships,” Stenvall said. “They’re worth millions, that’s not a joke. Our partnerships bring in more for our resource protection than I get through my federal budget.”

Posted in Willapa Bay in the news, Willapa National Wildlife Refuge | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »