Saturday, June 25, 2022
June 25, 2022

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Steigerwald to mark reopening, $25M habitat restoration Saturday

Celebration to include speakers, tour, refreshments

By , Columbian staff writer

A ceremony celebrating the reopening of Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge will be held starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The celebration is in recognition of the completion of the “largest habitat restoration project in the history of the lower Columbia River,” according to project officials.

The Steigerwald Lake refuge, which is part of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Complex, had been closed since August 2019. The $25 million project included reconnecting 965 acres of Columbia River floodplain, creation of new trails, more than 500,000 plantings of native species of trees, grasses and shrubs, and removal of infrastructure along Gibbons Creek.

The ceremony will feature a number of guest speakers, including refuge manager Juliette Fernandez from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Hugh Morrison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s acting regional director; Elaine Placido, executive director of Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership; David Ripp, CEO for the Port of Camas-Washougal; Washougal City Councilor Molly Coston and others.

The celebration is hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. Following the speakers, there will be opportunities to walk the trails and tour the site from noon to 4 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served. Guests should come prepared for the weather with sun and/or rain protection.

To accommodate the larger than usual crowd expected, the refuge parking lot will be closed and access will be by shuttle. The shuttle service will leave regularly from the Pendleton Mill Store at 2 Pendleton Way in Washougal and will be mask friendly and wheelchair accessible.

For questions about the shuttle service or those needing alternate accommodations should call Park Ranger Josie Finley at 360-608-2059.

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