Willapa National Wildlife Refuge has plans to remove dikes protecting about 600 acres of prime wildlife habitat for migratory waterfowl on the south bay Porter Point, Lewis and Riekola units.
The Lewis Unit is the only fresh water habitat of its kind on the south bay that offers fresh water feeding grounds for thousands of migrating ducks each year. The Porter Point Unit not only provides fresh water habitat to ducks and geese but is home for a herd of 40 to 60 elk, offering them the only safe haven during hunting season. The Riekkola Unit is the only pasture land on the south bay owned by Willapa Refuge that offers prime feeding grounds for migrating geese, one of which is the threatened dusky Canada goose.
Recently, millions of dollars were spent on similar alterations to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in Thurston County. These alterations included the removal of dikes, pasturelands and freshwater marshes. The Nisqually Wildlife Refuge only held 7 percent of the migratory waterfowl this year that it did three years ago. This information is from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists in charge of the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and the Washington Waterfowl Association newsletter. Is this what we want for our bay?
Also under the refuges preferred Alternative 2, Willapa Wildlife Refuge leaders plan to build a new office/maintenance and visitor facility and a mile-long trail and observation deck at the Tarlatt Unit (part of the old Shire Ranch at 99th). This is also prime goose-feeding grounds and habitat earmarked for destruction. This multi-million dollar project comes at a time when the economy does not justify spending taxpayer dollars for the destruction of the finest wildlife habitat on the Washington coast.
What can you do?
Write a letter or send an e-mail (due by March 7) in support of Alternative 1 (maintain current refuge programs, no dike removal).
Alternative 2 should not be recommended for consideration. Send comments to: Charles Stenvall (Project Leader), Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, 3888 SR 101 Ilwaco, WA 98624.
U.S. SEN. PATTY MURRAY
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Toll Free: 866-481-9186
U.S. SEN. MARIA CANTWELL
511 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
U.S. REP. JAIME HERRERA BEUTLER
1130 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Woody Phillips Sr.