Steigerwald Lake refuge plantings starting soon

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A planting effort starting Saturday will place native trees and shrubs in the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge nearly every weekend through the winter. Volunteers are invited to help throughout the season, according to the refuge.

Volunteers and Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership leaders will gather from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. during the first three Saturdays in November, the first two in December, and all Saturdays in January, February and March. Officials expect to put 3,200 plants in the ground this winter.

Participants will meet each week at the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art trailhead, just off state Highway 14 east of Washougal. Refuge officials encourage volunteers to bring weather-appropriate clothing, boots and gloves.

The planting effort will focus largely on the Gibbons Creek area, putting in native trees and shrubs that include cottonwood, willow, dogwood and spirea. Last year’s effort rooted more than 8,000 native plants, according to the refuge.

Additional information is available through Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards at www.refugestewards.org.