Vaux Swifts Are Back

Each year the Vaux Swifts roost for several nights in a chimney on the house across the street from my house. The population this year is the largest one yet, possibly several hundred.  The birds seem to be retiring a bit early these past few days, possibly because the fog and smoke make it dark sooner.  They will be here for another few weeks and then continue their migration to South America.  The residents in the house are new so I wonder if they knew about these birds.  Several came out of the fireplace and into the living room. They had the front door open and were coaxing these birds to leave.  It was a little like Alfred Hitchcock’s movie

Sunset In Refuge


Yesterday, in the late afternoon, it became very  smoky and these pictures were taken in the Carty Unit of our refuge.  The news about the fires in Washington, Oregon, and California is not good.   It will be over 90 degrees today and tomorrow.   What is needed is a few days of gentle soaking rain for all three states.  It may not be for some time.

By Paul Snoey

Coho spawning in Allen Canyon Creek



I’ve worked with Les Greear for several years with operating remote site incubators in Gee Creek and Allen Canyon Creek.  The photo above was taken yesterday morning and then this fish was released back into the pool where it was netted.  I’m positive it is a juvenile Coho.  The bars on the sides are typical of young trout and salmon.  The white leading edge on the dorsal fin and anal fin is characteristic  of Coho.  This fish is about four inches long.  This year, the Lewis River Hatchery did not have any eggs available for the incubator on Allen Canyon Creek.   I’ve been trying for most of the summer to ID the fishes seen earlier in this creek.  I was able to net this one as the pool it was in has been shrinking with the summer drought. It is strong evidence that Coho are returning to the creek to spawn since there were no eggs for the incubator.  I will send this photo to a state biologist for conformation.

I also took a picture of a fry from under the Division Street Bridge in Abram’s Park earlier this summer.  The state said it was also a Coho.  Last year, the incubator on Reiman Road was moved to a  tributary east of the Carty Unit of the federal refuge. This tributary drains into Gee Creek below North Main Avenue.  The state biologist stated that it was unlikely that the fry would move so far upstream as to be in Abrams Park.  Her conclusion is that Coho are also spawning in Gee Creek.  That is the goal having incubators; to get a self sustaining population in both creeks.  There are lots of problems with both creeks but if improvements can be made to protect the flow and water quality of both creeks we may see an annual return of these fish.

Library Moves

The library has moved to its new location on Simon Street. The good news is the collection drop boxes for books are now reachable from the driver’s side of your car. Enter the alley at Mill Street and you’ll be aligned with the openings.

Curbside pickup is still being used until the state enters a new phase of COVID treatment.

A Record High Daily Covid Count – USA

The above graph is from Worldometer’ s dashboard for Covid 19. For the first time, it shows cases for the US as being above 70 thousand/day.   The number is higher than John Hopkin’s dashboard and Wikipedia’s  .  However. the sources all show that Friday, July 10th  was the highest single day ever.  Many states, especially in the south,  are at crisis levels now.  

The US failed to get this disease under control when it had the chance back in March and April when other countries did.  We are going to pay a heavy price for that with many epidemiologists saying it is going to get worse.

As individuals, our responsibility is to protect ourselves and others as best we can.  Wearing a mask,  practicing  safe distancing,  and other recommended means need to be followed.  It may be a while before things get better.

By Paul Snoey

What Is Normal?

Thanks to Steve Coxen for sending this.

For weeks I have heard people saying “ I just can’t wait for things to be back to normal.” I remember even saying that a few times myself. But as I’ve thought about our current situation I have realized how much I don’t want things to go back to the way they were. Here are a few of thoughts…
1. I hope that the next time a friend grabs me and pulls me in for a hug, I actually take the time to appreciate the gift of their embrace.
2. I hope that when school resumes and you are dropping your kids off, you take the time to thank the staff for the amazing gift that they give to your family.
3. I hope that the next time I’m sitting in a crowded restaurant I take the time to look around at the smiling faces, loud voices and be more appreciative for the gift of community.
4. I hope that when I am at the grocery store that I take a moment to acknowledge the necessities of life and the amazing people who work so hard to keep us supplied.
5. I hope that I never again take for granted the ability to hop in the car and visit a friend, go to the mall, go to a movie, etc.
So, truth is, I don’t want things to return to the way they once were. I hope that we take the lessons and challenges of the past few weeks and create a new normal.
My goal is to appreciate more, love harder, and truly appreciate the daily abundance of blessings that were so easily overlooked just a mere few weeks ago. If someone tells you they love you, take it to heart!

Ridgefield Seniors for Schools Contribute to the Gleaners

The Ridgefield Seniors for Schools have made a monetary contribution to a local non-profit, Ridgefield Community Gleaners Association. During the gardening season the Gleaners collect delicious fresh food before it can go to waste and get it to people who can use it. Many of those people are clients of the Ridgefield Family Resource Center. When our gardens aren’t flush with fresh food, the Gleaners, through a relationship with our local grocery store Rosauers, purchase fresh food and contribute it to the Family Resource Center.

How did this contribution come about? This PDC registered Seniors Group organized themselves last November to help promote the Ridgefield School Bond. They funded their activities through small contributions from its members. Shortly before the end of the bond promotion campaign (final vote was February 11) they realized they would have some money left over, so at their last meeting on January 30th the group decided to give their remaining funds to a non-profit, which turned out to be the Gleaners. An almost immediate contact with the Gleaners sealed the deal.

But then what? As we all know, the bond did not pass and another campaign would be necessary. So what to do since some funds would be necessary if the seniors were to support the bond effort again. And the seniors were all in wanting to support the schools and the bond. But they had made the promise to make the contribution to the Gleaners, and there was no question that the seniors would make good on their word. So they transferred the money to the Gleaners.

Now there is one more promise the seniors made. And that is to help support the effort to pass the school bond. They intend to keep their promise to do whatever they can for as long as is necessary to pass the school bond.

Ribbon Cutting Today

The Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce and Ridgefield Main Street are hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for our two newest downtown businesses this afternoon, Thursday the 27th, at 4 pm.

Three-Sixty Burgers & Brews and Fin & Feather on Pioneer Avenue will be honored. The public is invited to attend.

Shiny Geranium: A Little Green Tsunami

Shiny Geranium on Smythe Road

Shiny Geranium is new to Ridgefield and Clark County.  It was listed as a class A weed by the state of Washington Department of Agriculture in 2009 and then a class B in 2015.  Class A lists are mandatory removal and Class B leave it up to the county.  King county requires removal but Clark County does not.

I had never heard of this little geranium before 2015.  I noticed a pretty little weed in the parking lot at the post office but didn’t know what it was.  Later, in October of that year, I found that it had turned a couple acres  green on some property north of Ridgefield.  Then it was found on Pioneer, mostly on the right of way from  S 9th Avenue to the junction.  Since it only seemed to be in a few places I thought it might be possible to control it and prevent it’s spread.  I’ve worked very hard to eliminate it, putting in hundreds of hours.  Last year, I put in several hours/week on six acres north of town.  Since it is an annual and the seeds germinate after the first fall rains, the strategy was to prevent it from going to seed.  It was a shock to see how much germination there was.  I would treat an area and a few weeks later would find many new plants.

Shiny geranium is rapidly spreading in the Carty Unit

There  is a lot of it in the Carty Unit of the refuge.   This fall I found it on Smythe Road. There are patches on Bertsinger Rd and on Carty Road.  It is well established on both sides of the road south of the Elani Casino.  I thought I could keep it away from Allen Canyon Creek but this fall I found it a few feet away from the stream.  Saturday afternoon, I went for a walk and took a short cut above Abrams Park through the Frisbee golf course.   In an open area there was a patch of this geranium that covered several hundred square feet and there was another patch further away.

Shiny geranium on Frisbee golf course at Abrams Park

I’ve decided to give up on it as it is just overwhelming.  The property owner north of town spent over $1000 on herbicides recommended by Clark County Weed Management.  We both worked very hard the past three to four years.  It has been reduced and grass was planted in areas we have cleared.  To maintain control  however,  would take too much work each year.

This weed is spreading quickly and will be a threat to the few natural areas we have left.  It will likely thrive in the Carty Unit and would take an extraordinary effort to contain it.  There are 4 or 5 introduced geraniums in Ridgefield and one or more is likely on almost everyone’s property.  Where these geraniums are, likely in a few years, shiny geranium will be there too.  It is different from other geraniums in that it forms a thick dense carpet that prevents other plants from growing.

According to a weed management agency in Victoria BC, it hybridizes with the other geraniums.  That will make it interesting.  There is quite a bit of it in the north parking lot of the post office if you want to see it.

By Paul Snoey

Ribbon Cutting for North Main Avenue

On Friday the 14th, Officials and interested citizens gathered at Overlook Park.  They were there to begin a one mile walk to the entrance of the Carty Unit of the refuge.  There were about sixty people who made the walk.  The purpose was to celebrate the completion of the improvements to North Main Avenue with a ribbon cutting.

At the entrance to the refuge, The Mayor of Ridgefield, The refuge project leader, and a spokesperson from the Federal Highway Administration made comments about the project.  Then, several children were each given a pair of scissors and the ribbon was cut.  This project was to improve access to the refuge, especially for pedestrians.  There is also a new entrance to the refuge through the port and a trail from there will take hikers along the west side of Carty Lake and join the Oaks to Wetlands trail near the Cathlapotle plank house. This will make for a loop  of a little more than five miles.  The trail by Carty Lake is closed now but may be open in a few weeks.

By Paul Snoey

Thought for the Week

The forecast may have been for snow, but no one told my daffodils or peonies!

Library Needs your Help

Representatives from City Council will meet with legislators soon to discuss getting funding for several projects in the Ridgefield area. One of them is funding for a new library.

Having support letters from citizens would show our support of the library, so I’m asking you to write a letter to our legislators (Senator Ann Rivers and Representatives Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff) giving your reasons that we need a new library.

If you want to write a letter (or three – all the same) please take it to City Hall before this Friday the 10th so it can be included in the packet to the legislators.

Below is the portion of the City’s request that asks for library funds. This will give you some idea of what to write.

“Fort Vancouver Regional Library needs $1,000,000 to expand the existing Ridgefield Community Library. The 2055 square foot space that has housed the library since 1994 does not come close to meeting the needs for one of the fastest growing communities in the state. A 2014 study found that at least 10,000 square feet is necessary for the needs of the community. Over $3 million has been raised from the Friends of the Ridgefield Library, the Library Foundation and FVRL. There are still funds necessary to complete construction and provide the technology and materials for a new facility. We join the request for funds to finalize funds for this incredibly important community asset.”

Please give your reasons for wanting a new libary and be sure to ask for the $1,000,000.


North Main Avenue is Open

The barricades at the refuge and at Depot Street were removed late this afternoon and traffic has begun to move through the area. This street has been closed since the July 4th week-end. The new sidewalk was poured yesterday and is covered by a plastic sheet so pedestrians will have wait a little bit while the concrete cures.  Below is a photo of the first day of the project as the contractor began mobilizing. Quite a difference!

Merry Christmas

Having been born in Cleveland, and living the first 20  years of my life there, it seemed we always had snow for Christmas. Now living in Ridgefield that seems a lifetime ago, and we seldom have snow at what seems to me the appropriate time. This poem brings back those memories.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Paving on N Main Avenue


Paving was done on N Main Avenue today and appears to be almost complete. On the west side, forms have been placed for the sidewalk, which has yet to be poured.  There still remains guard rails to be placed on both sides.  There has been an 8″ water main installed in the street ending with a hydrant at the entrance to the refuge.  Under the future sidewalk, there is a two inch sewer force-main that will carry sewage from the refuge into town.  The completion date is still scheduled for December 31st.

Looking to the north behind the two workers, the end of a new 10′ culvert can be seen.  This culvert carries a tributary of Gee Creek that used to drain into Gee Creek on the east side.  The improvement created an opportunity for a salmon incubator and I asked the state to consider it.  Yesterday, the state granted permission for a remote site incubator to be installed on property owned by Raul and Claudia Moreno.  The Lewis River Hatchery has committed 5,000 Coho eggs for early January.  This incubator will be part of an educational program with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and likely students from Union Ridge will be visiting.

Wednesday afternoon update:  Crews were installing a guard rail on the east side today and finishing paving on the North end.  There was a lot of crew members on site today working in several different places along the project.  Heavy rain is predicted beginning tomorrow and the National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Thursday evening through Sunday morning.  The original culvert under N Main was only 10 feet in diameter and tended to back up during a heavy rain event.  If we do have heavy rain, it will be interesting to see the difference the new culvert makes.

Contributed by Paul Snoey