Farris: On the Refuge in September
September has arrived with its cooler weather and shorter days. It's a great time to walk the trails before the seasonal trail closes for the winter.
The colors in nature are beginning to change as we move into fall. Many birds have begun their migrations southward, but the resident birds are always around. Look for mammals in hideaways of the various habitats. Watch quietly and you may spot a black-tail deer, coyote, an occasional elk as well as raccoon, beaver and mink.
Exciting changes are happening at the Refuge. Work is in progress to restore Chicken Creek, which crosses the Refuge, to its natural, curving flow.
The creek followed a curving route before it was diverted to a straight channel for agricultural use for most of the 20th century.
The end result will be one connected unit of 280 acres of floodplain and only three managed wetlands.
This long-planned project will increase and improve wetland and riparian habitat for the diverse wildlife that live on the Refuge. Aquatic species like Western brook lamprey and cutthroat trout will benefit from the slower flowing creek which will provide resting and rearing opportunities. Birds and mammals will find more hunting and nesting opportunities as increased vegetation will offer additional protection.
These changes will benefit not only wildlife but also offer visitors an opportunity to see more diverse wildlife.
If you would like more information about this project, stop by the Visitor Center, open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pam Farris is a member of Friends of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
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