Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex Welcome to the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex page! For official information about the Complex, go to http://www.fws.gov/WillametteValley/complex/.
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For more about the Fish and Wildlife service, go to www.fws.gov. The Willamette Valley Refuges (Ankeny, Baskett Slough, William L. Finley and Snag Boat Bend) provide protection for historically abundant oak savanna, native prairie, riparian forest and wetland habitats. In these protected places, endangered plant populations grow, summer songbirds nest, and wintering waterfowl find sanctuary in vast wetlands. And have I mentioned the elk and bobcats?!

Mission: The Willamette Valley Refuges were created in the 1960's to provide wintering habitat for dusky Canada geese. Unlike other Canada geese, duskies have limited ranges - they winter almost excluseively in the Willamette Valley....as our farming neighbors know all too well....

Just waiting for rains now! Nearly all of the native plant seeding has finished and we’re excited to watch Cabell Marsh ...
11/04/2020

Just waiting for rains now! Nearly all of the native plant seeding has finished and we’re excited to watch Cabell Marsh fill with water.

We have planted pounds of slough grass, bur reed, wapato, manna grass and plantain.

Rehabilitating the marsh has taken quite a lot of work and time but the results will be well worth it. A diverse community of native plants (vs a monoculture if reed canary grass) will greatly benefit wildlife up and down the food chain.

We hope you’ll enjoy the results and new loafing logs near the blind!

Some people might think entrails do not constitute positive feedback, but we do!!! It means the wildlife we work hard to...
11/03/2020

Some people might think entrails do not constitute positive feedback, but we do!!! It means the wildlife we work hard to make homes for are finding food. A raptor must have caught its meal in the upland prairie adjacent to this kiosk and then ate it on the rafters above. Bon-appetite and thanks for the glowing remarks!! #birdversionofamicdrop

10/29/2020

The bobcat kept stopping to lay down along the path to the Overlook. It eventually wandered into the tall grass. Good luck with dinner!

Well goodness, this bobcat must have heard about those turkeys and Thanksgiving and invited itself 🙂 Seeing a bobcat wil...
10/29/2020

Well goodness, this bobcat must have heard about those turkeys and Thanksgiving and invited itself 🙂

Seeing a bobcat will never get old! ❤️

Arriving early for a coyote’s Thanksgiving? Owls and eagles will also sometimes eat young turkeys or poults. Since these...
10/29/2020

Arriving early for a coyote’s Thanksgiving? Owls and eagles will also sometimes eat young turkeys or poults.

Since these are a non-native species, we hope they dine well!

The Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge office got a new entrance road. It’s much safer to get in and out of the off...
10/27/2020

The Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge office got a new entrance road. It’s much safer to get in and out of the office/shop area now. There are turn lanes in both directions and much better visibility.

And geese in the fields by the thousands!!

A little seasonal smile for you from Snag Boat Bend!Photo Credit: Eduardo González, the new Latino Engagement Coordinato...
10/21/2020

A little seasonal smile for you from Snag Boat Bend!

Photo Credit: Eduardo González, the new Latino Engagement Coordinator that started yesterday! Bienvenidos!

The Ankeny Hill Nature Center is getting closer to opening! We’re still weeks away and there are lots of details and pro...
10/15/2020

The Ankeny Hill Nature Center is getting closer to opening! We’re still weeks away and there are lots of details and projects to wrap-up but we’re looking forward to throwing open the gates, so to speak 🙂 The interior of the building will not be the busy education space we envisioned until after the pandemic, but the grounds itself will offer new experiences we think you’ll love! Stay tuned....

Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex
10/08/2020

Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Last week we lost one of our Refuge family members.  Matt Withee, Engineering Equipment Operator at Ankeny National Wild...
10/05/2020

Last week we lost one of our Refuge family members. Matt Withee, Engineering Equipment Operator at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge, passed away peacefully but unexpectedly. The hole is huge, our hearts are heavy, and we are still in shock.

Matt started at the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex in 2001 and was stationed permanently at Ankeny in 2007. He lived onsite in Refuge housing with his family and has stewarded and been the caretaker of that Refuge ever since. Many of you probably saw him over the years and talked with him. He always had a smile, oodles of stories, and was at home in a tractor out in those fields. The restored wetlands off of Buena Vista Rd., Peregrine Marsh, the fence at Eagle Marsh, the thousands of native plants and acres of mowing and farming - this was all Matt's handiwork. He helped other Refuges across the country on detail assignments and was a heavy equipment operator instructor for the Pacifice Northwest Region. He was well known and well loved.

Matt was so easy to connect with and has even been referred to as the mayor of the town of Jefferson, where he was born and raised and where Ankeny Refuge is located. This was evident at his service on Saturday. The football field was full of family, friends, loved ones and coworkers. Gone too soon but always with us. We miss you, Matt.

We'll have machines and staff working at the top of Baskett Butte this week. The Oak Woodland Loop is temporarily closed...
10/01/2020

We'll have machines and staff working at the top of Baskett Butte this week. The Oak Woodland Loop is temporarily closed and signs are posted. Thanks for your patience as we work to create the oak savanna so many species depend on!

Did you know photobombing happens in the wildlife world?  These Long-billed dowitchers did NOT appreciate this garter sn...
09/24/2020

Did you know photobombing happens in the wildlife world?
These Long-billed dowitchers did NOT appreciate this garter snake's sense of humor.

Photo credit: Larry Clack

The Pintail Boardwalk Trail is clear! Tree, please fall the other way next time. Please and thank you. 😉
09/22/2020

The Pintail Boardwalk Trail is clear!

Tree, please fall the other way next time. Please and thank you. 😉

Pintail Boardwalk at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is temporarily closed. During the Labor Day storms trees came down ...
09/17/2020

Pintail Boardwalk at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is temporarily closed. During the Labor Day storms trees came down and have damaged the boardwalk. As soon as we get it cleared and it’s safe to use the trail, we’ll let you know!

Rail Trail is clear so use that trail in the meantime.

Stay safe out there!

So many and so much impacted...Lots of staff are helping fight the fires. 💪May rain come soon. 🌧
09/16/2020

So many and so much impacted...
Lots of staff are helping fight the fires. 💪
May rain come soon. 🌧

Our local hero is a national hero.Rich Guadagno was a Refuge Manager of Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. He is a...
09/11/2020

Our local hero is a national hero.

Rich Guadagno was a Refuge Manager of Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. He is also credited with not allowing Flight 93, on this day 19 years ago, to arrive at its intended destination in our Nation’s capital. He took action on that plane and tried to stop the hijackers. He did not allow their mission to succeed.

He had boarded the flight to head back home after celebrating his grandmother’s 100th birthday with family in New Jersey. He was a federally trained law enforcement officer. His badge and credentials were recovered at the crash site and returned to his parents and sister.

Today and every day we remember him and honor him. As you hike his memorial trail at Baskett Slough Refuge, we hope you think of him and help his legacy live on forever.

Remembering Our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 9-11 Fallen Comrade on the 19th Anniversary of the Terrorist Attack--Richard Guadagno.

On September 11, 2001, Project Leader and USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System Law Enforcement Officer Richard J. Guadagno was returning home on United Airlines Flight 93 when the flight was hijacked with the intent of crashing the plane into an unknown target in Washington, D.C. There was an effort made by several passengers to thwart the hijackers and regain control of the plane. This heroic effort was unsuccessful and the plane crashed near Shanksville, PA. On October 20, 2001 Guadagno's law enforcement credentials were recovered from the crash site near the remains of the cockpit. Guadagno was at the front of the plane when it crashed and it is believed he was an active participant in efforts to recover the plane from the terrorists. Guadagno was posthumously awarded the Valor Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior and his plaque is part of the National Conservation Training Center's Fallen Comrades Memorial. Rich's efforts to protect this nation will never be forgotten.

It is with IMMENSE gratitude and mountains of thanks that we watch Paul and Janet Hart, our superstar resident volutneer...
09/05/2020

It is with IMMENSE gratitude and mountains of thanks that we watch Paul and Janet Hart, our superstar resident volutneers, roll out of their RV spot at Finley for the season....

This is the third year that Paul and Janet have volunteered for the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex and once again they absolutely obliterated the work list we gave them. The original work list was completed within just a few weeks.

We wanted to show you just a few of the projects that Paul and Janet worked on during their 3 month volunteer stint. Many of you saw them out picking up trash, restocking brochures, staining benches, clearing trails, mowing, painting and removing graffiti and weeds. Thanks for your kind words - they really enjoyed interacting with visitors.

Guess how many hours they worked? The volunteer coordinator calculated 960 hours but that is likely too low. They often worked long days and didn't account for the many daily tasks they took on. Scroll through the pictures to see a mini highlight reel of some of their accomplishments. Of course, it's impossible to fully capture all that they did. They have become an incredibly important part of our Refuge team and we are beyond lucky to have them.

Paul and Janet, THANK YOU!! We have your spot saved and hope to see you next year :)

The Cabell Marsh rehabilitation is going well!There is still more disking to do.... Reed canary grass roots are tenaciou...
08/30/2020

The Cabell Marsh rehabilitation is going well!

There is still more disking to do.... Reed canary grass roots are tenacious and we are having to make multiple passes, in a cross hatch pattern, to really rip them up.

A favorite wetland plant and Kalapuya food source, wapato, is hardy enough to withstand the dry conditions. Look for it to thrive and be a mat of green when rains start.

You’re in for a treat once the wetland is full of water again. Staff just finished placing large loafing logs closer to the Cabell Marsh blind. We wanted to provide more and CLOSER viewing opportunities for you! Woot!!

The white stand inside the blind got a new top and writing utensils thanks to resident volunteers Paul and Janet Hart. ❤️ We love seeing your pictures and reading your musings and sightings!

Today is the first day of the annual William L. Finley Refuge elk and deer hunt. This limited hunt runs from August 29th...
08/30/2020

Today is the first day of the annual William L. Finley Refuge elk and deer hunt. This limited hunt runs from August 29th - October 30th.

There are very few elk hunters (25 total permits) and they are spread out over two week hunts so that there are only 5-10 elk hunters at any given time. The Refuge works closely with the State on population targets and hunt details.

Fall is a traditional time when public lands offer another recreation opportunity. Thank you for sharing the Refuge with a small number of hunters for two short months.

See flyer or website for more information. They are also posted around the Refuge.

Look who’s back?! 😂 A+ for perseverance!
08/27/2020

Look who’s back?! 😂

A+ for perseverance!

We weren’t sure how to tell this Pacific chorus frog that it had arrived both after hours AND at the wrong door.
08/20/2020

We weren’t sure how to tell this Pacific chorus frog that it had arrived both after hours AND at the wrong door.

The 3rd annual Baskett Slough Refuge youth hunt will be September 26th and 27th this year! Interested youth can find all...
08/20/2020

The 3rd annual Baskett Slough Refuge youth hunt will be September 26th and 27th this year! Interested youth can find all of the information and application on our website: www.fws.gov/refuge/Baskett_Slough/

The application deadline was extended to Friday, September 4th.

08/16/2020
Swallows at William L. Finley Refuge tonight!

Calling all swallows!!! Meet at the William L. Finley Refuge shop roof. Many of us are already here feeding and whooping it up after a long hot day. See you soon!

We’re posting here in case you missed the Tweet.

Do you love nature, Wildlife Refuges, environmental education, working with teams and stretching your creativity? Have a...
08/15/2020

Do you love nature, Wildlife Refuges, environmental education, working with teams and stretching your creativity? Have a passion for making public lands more welcoming for Latinos? Are you bilingual? You might be the talented person we're looking to hire!! We're working with Environment for the Americas (EFTA) to bring on the next Willamette Valley Refuges' Latino Engagement Coordinator! For more information on this paid position and to apply: https://www.environmentamericas.org/internships/internships

A big shout out and thank you to Isabel Justiniano and Beatrice Serrano-Martinez for all of their amazing work in this position over the last 4+ years!!!

The Ankeny Hill Nature Center has some really special furniture. You can still see the stump where the large Oregon whit...
08/13/2020

The Ankeny Hill Nature Center has some really special furniture. You can still see the stump where the large Oregon white oak tree once stood. It had declined over time and became a hazard tree. It was evaluated by a forester and removed in early 2016. IT'S BACK!

Four years ago the tree traveled to Zena Forest Products, a local mill northwest of Salem. There it was air dried for a little over two years before it went into a kiln. The lumber was in the kiln for about 6 months. From there it was transported back to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge until designs and planning were finalized to turn the lumber into classroom furniture. From sketches, George Essaides at Willamette Valley Fine Woodworking turned the oak tree into these beautiful tables. They conjoin to create a conference room table and can roll apart to form stations and work areas throughout the classroom. The legs of the tables are from the oak tree and there's even a speaker's podium. We will end up using just about all of the tree. There are still pieces left that will be crafted into furniture for the next phase of the Nature Center and the limbs will end up being part of the Nature Explore Area within one of the trails.

Thank you to Zena Forest Products, George Essaides, Salem Audubon Society and the Friends of the WVNWRC for giving this tree a new life.

There were some very interesting wildlife observations documented at the Cabell Marsh blind last month! Everything from ...
08/09/2020

There were some very interesting wildlife observations documented at the Cabell Marsh blind last month!

Everything from Sasquatch to “danger noodles” (aka snakes, as nicknamed by one visitor)

Someone else “felt like William Shatner here in these woods” 🙂

David Harlow works for the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program as a seasonal equipment operator.  He usually sp...
08/06/2020

David Harlow works for the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program as a seasonal equipment operator. He usually spends his time creating habitat for wildlife on private land, but he spent the last two weeks helping with an oak restoration project at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Removing Douglas fir trees and some of the smaller oak trees on the South Butte will allow other Oregon white oaks to grow quite large, restoring high quality oak habitat. Bring on the upland prairie understory and all of its rare species!!

Thanks for all of your help, Dave. The Baskett Slough staff appreciate your skills, exceptional work ethic and wonderful stories.

USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest
08/04/2020

USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest

It’s a wonderful day for wildlife and public lands! Today, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act. The Act provides millions of dollars each year for improving America’s national wildlife refuges and other public lands and waters.

The administration's conservation legacy is an historic investment in deferred maintenance at refuges and our public lands, and mandatory funding being established for the Great American Outdoors Act.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has rarely been fully funded since it was created in 1964. By signing the Great American Outdoors Act, President Trump has now made that a reality, permanently allocating $900 million a year for conservation projects. Now, more people can experience America's public lands!

Additionally, billions of dollars over the next 5 years via the Great American Outdoors Act will fund important maintenance investments on public lands to improve and enhance visitor experience while birding, fishing, hunting, and connecting with nature and wildlife on refuges.

Thanks to President Trump's call to Congress (signing the Great American Outdoors Act), current and future generations will benefit from improvements to Americans’ beloved refuges for people and wildlife.

#DOIDelivers #GAOA

Photo: Bald eagle in the harbor of Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge in Washington by Brent Lawrence/USFWS

08/01/2020
Riparian Restoration at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge

For those of you that have volunteered over the last few years to help us restore the field next to the Rail Trail parking lot at Ankeny Refuge, thank you. Each season it gets closer to the expanded riparian habitat we are trying to create.

Thank you, volunteers!

This Streaked horned lark nestling picture was taken earlier today (7/31) at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge.  I...
08/01/2020

This Streaked horned lark nestling picture was taken earlier today (7/31) at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. It likely fledged the nest by nightfall (its nest mate had already fledged). Wishing them all the best and many safe returns!

Thanks to funding from Corvallis Audubon Society and Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, we were able to bring on an intern through the Environment for the Americas Program specifically to find, follow and track Streaked horned lark nests and their success (or failure). We are learning a lot about this rare species in hopes we can better support it and increase its numbers.

HUGE thanks to Gabriela Judd for spending her summer up at the wee hours of the morning and hours upon hours looking for and watching these Threatened birds through spotting scopes and binoculars. With the help of the Refuge Biologist, Brian Root, they have found 19 nests at Baskett Slough so far! Six of the nests have been successful, 7 are still active, 5 have failed, and in the case of one nest, its status is unknown.

The upland prairie at the Ankeny Hill Nature Center has been in restoration for years. Many of you have been out there w...
07/23/2020

The upland prairie at the Ankeny Hill Nature Center has been in restoration for years. Many of you have been out there with us (once in the snow!) planting bulbs and plugs. Look what you have helped create! It is in full bloom and FULL of bird life.

The dominant yellow flower is Madia elegans or elegant tarweed. A beautiful, showy annual beloved by pollinators. It is an Oregon native and will reseed itself. The seeds were an important source for the Kalapuya. The seeds were dried and ground for flour and the seeds could also be pressed for oil.

Address

26208 Finley Refuge Rd
Corvallis, OR
97333

Our Refuges are near a lot of larger towns (Corvallis, Albany, Salem, Dallas, Junction City) but we are rather rural... Funny, our animals like being away from the hustle and bustle :) Taking a bus is tricky but some people bike out here! And carpooling is always encouraged.

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Comments

Thank you! Proof that Corvallis is a good home for Ducks! 😉 spread the word!
Not sure if first message went through, so here it is again. Regular visitors to Ankeny Refuge have noticed increasing numbers of other visitors entering parts of the Refuge that are now closed. Especially noticeable is the Buena Vista Road Kiosk area by Eagle Marsh. People are often seen walking on the dike trail to the south of the parking lot, and sometimes when asked by other visitors, they say they did not notice the sign indicating closure. We suggest that the chain on the entrance to this trail be placed again as has been in previous years. We also suggest that a larger sign be placed at the Eagle Marsh dike trail entrance that indicates “Closure, Do Not Enter” or something similar and also other, larger signs like this at other trail entrances. Thank you for all your work in maintaining the Refuges. We all appreciate it and understand there are funding and staffing issues, but are writing about this issue because of our love of our Refuge!
Regular visitors to Ankeny Refuge have noticed increasing numbers of other visitors entering parts of the Refuge that are now closed. Especially noticeable is the Buena Vista Road Kiosk area by Eagle Marsh. People are often seen walking on the dike trail to the south of the parking lot, and sometimes when asked by other visitors, they say they did not notice the sign indicating closure. We suggest that the chain on the entrance to this trail be placed again as has been in previous years. We also suggest that a larger sign be placed at the Eagle Marsh dike trail entrance that indicates “Closure, Do Not Enter” or something similar and also other, larger signs like this at other trail entrances. Thank you for all your work in maintaining the Refuges. We all appreciate it and understand there are funding and staffing issues, but are writing about this issue because of our love of our Refuge!
the link here www.fws.gov/WillametteValley/complex. Does not work. Can you please update?
Happy to apply water repellant to the observation deck.
Dont let the blackberries get wasted..
Hello, We were out at William Finley today. Haven't been out there in a couple of years. The big lake is completely dry. Was that a decision or did it just dry up? We are curious since, over the many years, we've never seen the lake like this. Really wondering what happened?
Photo through a dirty windshield, but out for a walk in Finley NWR today.
I visit Finley as often as I can, coming up from Eugene each weekend if I can manage it. I fully understand why the drive into the refuge on the south side was closed; however, I was wondering if there were plans to reopen part/all of that side. Clearly safety is always top priority. Yet I am missing my baby bunny fix...😊 I am seeing some on Bruce Rd, but not nearly as many as I have spotted on Finley Rd. Thank you for all you do to care for this amazing refuge. It truly is keeping me sane, especially right now. Be safe. Be well.
Hi Everyone! Thanks for tuning in to our walk at Finley. Due to a lack of cell phone service at some of our areas, we are unable to do a live video or post the videos. We will record and post the videos for your enjoyment tomorrow. Thank you for your patience!
Has the Plants for Birds started?
A lovely video my daughter made of our visit 4/25/2020, I thought you guys might like it.