The Refuge - HistoryFeatured Photo
Photo By: Bill Griffiths
The creation of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is unique in that it was originally proposed by local citizens for the preservation of open spaces in an urban area.
In the early 1990s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began studying the idea to create a National Wildlife Refuge along the bottomlands of the Tualatin River. This study was fueled by the desire of local citizens to preserve open greenspace and create an area where future generations could enjoy outdoor recreation and interpretation, and leave an educational legacy for children. The study culminated in a decision, issued in February of 1992, to create the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge by acquiring and managing up to 3058 acres of land by fee title purchase, conservation easement and/or agreement.
An initial 12-acre private donation established the Refuge in 1993. From 1994 through 2004, 1256 more acres have been protected for a current total of 1268 acres. You can download a map showing the land acquisition status of the refuge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently in the process of studying an area of land approximately 6,400 acres in size for consideration of establishing a new National Wildlife Refuge in the historic Wapato Lake area. The study area is located east of the town of Gaston and south of the town of Forest Grove, located in the upper Tualatin River watershed, which encompasses the historic Wapato Lake bed. The area holds remnant rare native habitat of the Tualatin River Floodplain such as scrub-shrub wetlands, Oregon ash riparian hardwood forests, and seasonal wetlands that provide important habitat for migratory birds and wintering waterfowl.