Steigerwald wildlife refuge reopens to public

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Visitors walk down a path at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Washougal on Saturday, May 7, 2022. (Doug Flanagan/Post-Record files)

The Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Washougal reopened to the public on Saturday, Oct. 1, after the completion of the final phase of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership’s (LCEP) habitat restoration project.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the LCEP reopened the refuge in May and closed it again in early August to allow crews to finish construction of a final section of the trail system, install salmon monitoring equipment and complete habitat improvements in the floodplain.

The habitat restoration project, the largest project of its kind on the Columbia River, included the removal of more than 2 miles of existing levees, along with existing water control and stream diversion infrastructure. New levees were built to allow Gibbons Creek to reconnect to the river once the concrete channel was removed from the creek.