Help Make BirdFest a Success

Birds up close and personal, guided walks, kayak and canoe trips, Sandhill crane tours, seminars, free movies, Birder’s Marketplace, and award-winning bluegrass bands are just some of the treats awaiting you at this year’s BirdFest & Bluegrass weekend. Hone your wildlife photography skills or learn basic watercolor techniques. Explore the geology and cultural history of the Refuge. Enjoy a traditional salmon bake with drumming by members of the Chinook Indian Nation and Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. Learn about the planned reintroduction of magnificent condors along the Columbia River. Find out what birds are talking about when they sing, chatter and squawk. Let your children explore engaging, hands-on activities or listen to skilled storytellers relate tales from the wild.   Raptors at BF

The official BirdFest schedule is available online at ridgefieldfriends.org/birdfest/ and shows you everything you’ll need to know to plan your fabulous weekend at the 2015 BirdFest & Bluegrass celebration. See you there!

Your Help Makes BirdFest a Success!

BirdFest is right around the corner, and that means we need a big flock of helpers. Increase your fun and make new friends by volunteering during part of the weekend. Here’s where we need extra hands:

  • Helping on Friday to set up the display of winning photographs from this year’s Photo Contest;
  • Greeting and orienting event guests at information tables and booths and selling Friends merchandise in Davis Park on Saturday and Sunday;
  • Helping direct visitor parking;
  • Collecting donations for the Friends during the bird show, canoe paddles, and other events;
  • Helping with event setup Saturday Morning and take-down Sunday evening;
  • Helping with the family activities in Davis Park or around the Plankhouse.

Second Sunday at the Plankhouse

Celebrate Cedar with Artist and Weaver Judy Bridges at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse on Second Sunday, Sunday, September 13th, noon to – 4 pm. Cathlapotle plankhouse

Join us for a day of demonstrations and hands-on activities celebrating an icon of the Pacific Northwest, the Western Red Cedar.

Because it can provide homes, clothing, canoes, medicine, and more, the Western Red Cedar tree is highly honored by many Native Peoples in the Northwest for its role in their life ways and cultures. Many cedar traditions are still vibrant in Native communities today. Cowlitz weaver Judy Bridges will be in the Plankhouse demonstrating cedar weaving and bark processing techniques. There will also be opportunities to try your hand at splitting a cedar log and pounding cedar bark for fiber.

At 2:00 pm, a Refuge Naturalist will lead a hike around the Oaks to Wetlands Trail, exploring the connection between people, wildlife and cedar.

New Bridge at Carty Unit

 

Photos by Paul Snoey

Photos by Paul Snoey

The access to the refuge was closed earlier this week.  The old span was dismantled and removed from the tracks and then the site was cleaned up.  The access was open again on Thursday.  The new walkway is easier and ADA compliant.  But the nice thing about it is the great view of the refuge.

On the west side is a bench to sit on and enjoy the refuge and Carty Lake.  Carty Lake is full of water fowl in the winter so this bench should be a great place to sit and watch. bridge w bench

The old and new bridges

new pedestrian bridge

This photo by Paul Snoey shows the old and new pedestrian bridges on the way to the Plankhouse at the Refuge. The old bridge will be torn down, and the new one (in the back) will allow access to all because of its’ shallower slope.

Blackwater Island Research Area

Blackwater Island Research Area, Sugust 9, 2015

Blackwater Island Research Area, August 9, 2015

Blackwater Island is the center of the Blackwater Island Research Natural Area that was established in 1972. This 129 acre tract is in the center of the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The purpose of this area is to facilitate education and scientific use. It is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife service.   Use and regulation is stricter than other areas of the Refuge. The purpose is maintaining the ecology of the area. Scientific and educational use must be with the approval of US Fish and Wildlife service.

Here is the concern: Gee Creek is the water source for the Carty Unit.   It enters the unit in the SE Corner and provides water for the pond wetland complex including the Blackwater Island area. It then reforms as a narrow creek and enters the Columbia River in the NW Corner.   Problems with Gee Creek are very low summertime flows, high levels of sediment carried into the refuge during flood events, and contaminants. Gee Creek flows through old town Ridgefield. Old town Ridgefield does not treat its stormwater and discharges it directly into the creek. Untreated stormwater contains many serious contaminants such as heavy metals, detergents, nutrients, fecal coliform, pesticides, and other contaminants that get washed from the streets. Gee Creek is much more vulnerable as summer flows are low and there is little dilution of stormwater that enters the creek.    A few of us are working with the city and encouraging them to begin some treatment options that can temporarily and then permanently improve water quality of stormwater discharges.

Photo and write up by Paul Snoey

Note from Kathy – I am amazed to see this amount of water still in the area. I expected it to be dry because of the drought.

 

Second Sunday Event at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse: “Traditional Technology Day”

Cathlapotle plankhouse

Join us for a day of demonstrations and hands on activities highlighting traditional technologies found across the world and throughout time.  From 12-4, the Plankhouse will be open for visitors, and there will be activities for families to connect with local culture and wildlife. In the house students from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s Lifeways class will be demonstrating carving, weaving, and Native art design, while outside visitors can try their hand throwing an atlatl, making cordage, friction fire, and watch stone tools being created by an experienced flintknapper.

At 2pm, join a Refuge Naturalist for a hike down the Oaks to Wetlands trail, and learn about  ways people have been taking care of Oak and other Refuge ecosystems since time immemorial. You can also check out the ample wildlife watching opportunities on the River ‘S’ Unit Auto Tour Driving Route. Check the Friends website ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of Refuge trails, or contact Plankhouse Director Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov, or call (360) 887-4106.

Where:  Cathlapotle Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge:  28908 NW Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642

When:    August 9, 2015

Time: 12pm – 4pm: Various traditional technology demonstrations and hands on activities including:

  • Carving, Weaving, and Native Art Design Demonstrations by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Lifeways students
  • Cordage Making
  • Atlatl Throwing
  • Friction Fire
  • Flintknapping

2:00 pm: Naturalist Led Hike “A Walk through the Oaks”

For wheelchair access to this event, please contact Sarah prior to the event date.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, and the house will now be open weekends from noon to 4pm. Every second Sunday of the month the Plankhouse will host a special event with speakers, guided hikes, and children’s activities. For more information on the upcoming events, visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org/plankhouse/programs .

Funding for these programs has been generously provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the Community Foundation for SW Washington, and Umpqua Bank.

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a modern Chinookan Plankhouse built to interpret the Chinookan village of Cathlapotle that once existed on what is today Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge property.  At the time Lewis and Clark visited Cathlapotle, it had 14 large plankhouses and a population of over 900 people.  The modern Cathlapotle Plankhouse is used to provide educational programs to youth and the general public through our Lifeways, Landscapes, and Wildlife Interpretive Program.  To learn more about the Plankhouse visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org or contact Sarah Hill at Sarah_Hill@fws.gov or (360) 887-4106.

Second Sunday Series at the Plankhouse

Confluence project

The Confluence Project: Exploring History, Culture, and Ecology along the Columbia River, presented by Colin Fogarty, Executive Director, Confluence

Sunday, July 12, 2:00 pm

“Confluence is a bold and ambitious attempt to look back seven generations as a way to look forward seven generations on … it is a call to reflect, discover and connect to this larger history. The first step in that process is to listen.”    Colin Fogarty

Join Confluence Executive Director Colin Fogarty at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse as he shares the ways that the Confluence is connecting people to place through art and education. By collaborating with Northwest communities, tribes and celebrated artist Maya Lin, Confluence is able to share stories of the Columbia River through six public art installations, educational programs, community engagement, and digital experiences.

Second Sunday event at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse

“The Confluence Project, Exploring History, culture, and ecology along the Columbia River”

Where:  Cathlapotle Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge:  28908 NW Main Ave, Ridgefield, WA 98642. Refuge admission is $3 per vehicle. For wheelchair access to this event, please contact Sarah prior to the event date.

When:    July 12, 2015

12pm – 4pm: Plankhouse Tours and Children’s Activities – the Plankhouse will be open for visitors, and there will be activities for families to connect with the culture and wildlife at the plankhouse. You can also check out the ample wildlife watching opportunities on the River ‘S’ Unit Auto Tour Driving Route.

Tour the Plankhouse on your own or guided by our experienced volunteers. Children’s activities will be available, and Refuge binoculars will be available to use on the trail.

1:00 pm: Naturalist Led Hike – join a Refuge Naturalist for a hike down the Oaks to Wetlands trail, and learn about the plants and animals that call the Refuge home.

2:00pm: The Confluence Project, Exploring History, culture, and ecology along the Columbia River.

Join Confluence Executive Director, Colin Fogarty, at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse as he shares the ways that the Confluence is connecting people to place through art and education. By collaborating with Northwest communities, tribes and celebrated artist Maya Lin, Confluence is able to share stories of the Columbia River through six public art installations, educational programs, community engagement, and digital experiences.

“Confluence is a bold and ambitious attempt to look back seven generations as a way to look forward seven generations on…. it is a call to reflect, discover and connect to this larger history. The first step in that process is to listen.”

– Colin Fogarty, Executive Director, Confluence

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, and the house is open weekends from12pm-4pm. Every second Sunday of the month the Plankhouse will host a special event with speakers, guided hikes, and children’s activities. For more information on the upcoming events, visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org/plankhouse/programs .

Funding for these programs has been generously provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the Community Foundation for SW Washington, and Umpqua Bank.

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a modern Chinookan Plankhouse built to interpret the Chinookan village of Cathlapotle that once existed on what is today Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge property.  At the time Lewis and Clark visited Cathlapotle, it had 14 large plankhouses and a population of over 900 people.  The modern Cathlapotle Plankhouse is used to provide educational programs to youth and the general public through our Lifeways, Landscapes, and Wildlife Interpretive Program.  To learn more about the Plankhouse visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org or contact Sarah Hill at Sarah_Hill@fws.gov or (360) 887-4106.

Presentation Canceled

The 2:00 presentation at the Plankhouse, “First Person, First Peoples” by Deana Dartt has been cancelled.

Other activities happening June 14th will occur as usual:

12pm – 4pm: Plankhouse Tours and Children’s Activities – Tour the Plankhouse on your own or guided by our experienced volunteers.  Children’s cultural activities will be available, as will family activities.

Celebrate Pollinator Week by building a mason bee house & going on a pollinator scavenger hunt!
1:00 pm: Naturalist Led Hike

Explore the Oaks to Wetlands trail with a knowledgeable Refuge Naturalist

Cost:   Refuge admission is $3 per vehicle

Celebrate National Pollinator Week by visiting the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge June 14th for a day of connecting with wildlife and the cultural history of the Lower Columbia River. At 1:00pm join a Refuge Naturalist for a hike down the Oaks to Wetlands trail, and learn about the plants and animals that call the Refuge home. From 12-4, the Plankhouse will be open for visitors, and there will be activities for families to connect with the culture and wildlife at the Plankhouse. We will be building mason bee houses out of natural materials and going on a pollinator scavenger hunt.You can also check out the ample wildlife watching opportunities on the River ‘S’ Unit Auto Tour Driving Route. Check the Friends website ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of Refuge trails, or contact Plankhouse Director Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov, or call (360) 887-4106.

For wheelchair access to this event, please contact Sarah prior to the event date.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, and the house will now be open weekends from 12pm-4pm. Every second Sunday of the month the Plankhouse will host a special event with speakers, guided hikes, and children’s activities. For more information on the upcoming events, visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org/plankhouse/programs .

Volunteers Wanted at Refuge

volunteer

New Conservation Area Near the Refuge

Camas liliy

Clark County will begin maintaining prime wildlife habitat east of Lake River near the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge after taking title to the property following formal approval by the Board of County Councilors on May 26. The 150-acre conservation area is primarily along Flume Creek immediately south of Ridgefield, although portions are within Ridgefield city limits. It provides habitat to more than 30 species native to Clark County.

Columbia Land Trust provided substantial technical expertise to help the county secure the property valued at $2.1 million, using county property taxes from the Conservation Futures fund and a grant from the state’s urban wildlife habitat program. “We are committed to work with the county to conserve critically important places, in this case one of the premier forested properties overlooking Columbia River lowlands,” says Glenn Lamb, executive director of the land trust.

The area includes mature forest, shorelines, riparian habitat, wetlands and floodplains with habitat supporting great blue herons, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, pileated woodpeckers, neotropical migrant birds and additional wildlife. Since 1990, the county and the land trust have collaborated on numerous projects to conserve open space to benefit people and wildlife.

New Pedestrian Bridge

Bridge at Refuge

Early one morning in mid-May, the new pedestrian bridge at the Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge was connected into a soaring span across the railroad tracks.

Mother’s Day at the Plankhouse

A special Mother’s Day event will be held in the Plankhouse on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, 28905 North Main Avenue, from noon to 4pm on Sunday, May 10.

There will be children’s activities and plankhouse tours.

At 2pm Pat Courtney Gold will speak on Native Women’s View of Lewis and Clark. All the books written about Lewis and Clark were from a white man’s perspective. Learn about the Native People’s view of Lewis and Clark. How did the Columbia River matriarchal society see Lewis and Clark? What did they think of the smelly bearded men who ignored the sacred salmon in preference for dog meat?

Plankhouse programs are coordinated by the Friends of Ridgefield NWR

Mother’s Day Presentation: Native Woman’s Views on Lewis &Clark Expedition

Take mom for a walk, a talk, and wildlife watching at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge this Mother’s Day! At 2pm in the Cathlapotle Plankhouse Pat Courtney Gold, member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and accomplished weaver and artist, will speak about the perspective that Native Women had of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. There will also be activities for families to connect with the culture and wildlife at the plankhouse, hiking trails, in addition to ample wildlife watching opportunities on the River ‘S’ Unit Auto Tour Driving Route.

Check the Friends website ridgefieldfriends.org for maps of Refuge trails, or contact Plankhouse Director Sarah Hill at sarah_hill@fws.gov, or call (360) 887-4106.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, and the house will now be open weekends from12pm-4pm. Every second Sunday of the month the Plankhouse will host a special event with speakers, guided hikes, and children’s activities. For more information on the upcoming events, visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org/plankhouse/programs .

Funding for these programs has been generously provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the Community Foundation for SW Washington, and Umpqua Bank.

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse is a modern Chinookan Plankhouse built to interpret the Chinookan village of Cathlapotle that once existed on what is today Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge property.  At the time Lewis and Clark visited Cathlapotle, it had 14 large plankhouses and a population of over 900 people.  The modern Cathlapotle Plankhouse is used to provide educational programs to youth and the general public through our Lifeways, Landscapes, and Wildlife Interpretive Program.  To learn more about the Plankhouse visit www.ridgefieldfriends.org or contact Sarah Hill at Sarah_Hill@fws.gov or (360) 887-4106. For wheelchair access to this event, please contact Sarah prior to the event date.

This Week on Gee Creek

Paul Snoey

PACIFIC NORTHWEST STREAM QUALITY ASSESSMENT

Gee Creek Water Samples

Gee Creek is being monitored by the U.S Geological survey (USGS) as part of its National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The study is part of a larger study of 88 sites from Puget Sound to the Willamette Valley. The sampling began earlier this month on Gee Creek at the Division Street Bridge. Sampling will take place for several months from April through June of this year. Testing will be weekly. Samples taken will be analyzed for contaminants, nutrients, and sediments. Later testing, beginning in June will include an ecological survey of habitat, algae, benthic invertebrates, and fish.

The study cites “Rapid urban growth, particularly in the greater Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas, is causing water-quality concerns in the area.” The study states: “The findings will provide the public and policymakers with information regarding which human and environmental factors are the most critical in affecting stream quality and, thus, provide insights about possible approaches to protect or improve the health of streams in the region.”   For information on the NAWQA Regional Steam Quality Assessments, visit: http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/studies/msqa or you can visit the NAWQA web site at: http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa

Above: two technicians taking water samples at the Division Street Bridge in Abrams Park April 13th.

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Paul will lead a small group on a tour of the Gee Creek watershed at 10am on Saturday, May 9. The $25 fee will benefit the Ridgefield library building fund. To register, send your $25 (or more) check, made out to Friends of the Ridgefield Library, PO Box 534, Ridgefield, WA 98642. Mark “Gee Creek Walk” on the envelope. Include a phone number or email address so we can contact you with a meeting location.