Shillapoo Wildlife Area was historically connected to the Columbia River and provided habitat for fish and wildlife.
In the 1950s, WDFW began acquiring land to restore and enhance wetland habitat for wintering waterfowl. Shillapoo Wildlife Area is now 2,370 acres. The area's South Unit encompasses about 1000 acres, with over 100 acres of wetlands.
Since 2000, the South Unit wetlands have been augmented by the installation of pumps and water control structures. These enhancements improved habitat for the 200,000-300,000 waterfowl that winter in the area, along with sandhill cranes, and other wildlife.
The proposed project would restore fish access while maintaining habitat for wildlife.
This project would reestablish a connection between floodplain wetlands and the Columbia River to increase fish productivity and flows. Goals include:
Restore habitat for threatened and endangered salmonids (especially juvenile Chinook salmon)
Continue to provide wetland habitat - minimizing impacts of project to existing wetlands, waterfowl habitat, and other threatened and sensitive species (sandhill crane, Columbia white-tailed deer, dusky Canada goose, mollusk, and bald eagle)
Minimize flood risk to adjacent landowners with flood protection measures
Maintain or improve existing hunting, birding, and other outdoor recreational opportunities
On-site Actions and Changes
You would see changes to the wildlife area as fish access is restored, including:
Two levees to the Columbia River would be breached and channels will be created between wetlands to restore fish access. Bridges will be installed to maintain the road access.
Water control structures and pumps would be removed
Water levels in the wetlands will greatly fluctuate depending on river flows
On average wetlands currently on site may be drier; however, wetlands may at times be inundated with more water
Bonneville Power Administration is proposing to fund this project.
Additional project partners include Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Clark County.