The Byron unit encompasses 1,031 acres located five miles east of Mabton and five miles south of Grandview. This unit was purchased in 1948 with emphasis on waterfowl management. The terrain is a series of depressions and rolling hills. A major drain, carrying ground water and irrigation water, runs through the area creating a series of ponds over two miles that total about 400 surface acres. The Byron Ponds, as they are called, have historically produced excellent waterfowl nesting and brooding areas. They are also important during the shorebird migration. However, a severe carp infestation has lowered the productivity as a brood rearing area. Livestock grazing was removed several years ago, which has changed the complexion of the habitat. Tule and purple loosestrife infestations have increased in recent years. The surrounding uplands are used extensively by Canada geese, which graze on green cheat grass in late winter and early spring. A series of wetlands comprises at least 40 percent of the area. The major upland habitat type is shrub steppe, but a long history of fire and grazing has resulted in severely degraded condition. Cheatgrass and Russian knapweed are the most prevalent weedy species on this site but shallow, rocky soils make it difficult to restore native vegetation. The west end of the unit is heavily hunted, with some fishing occurring in the ponds that have perennial water. The east end of the unit is made up of the Byron Reserve where hunting is excluded but bird watching has become an attraction.
Birds of Prey
How to Get Here
Map and Driving Directions
Access Site #1
Driving Directions In Yakima Co., take state highway 22 east from Mabton, about 4.7 miles. Watch for a small, unimproved gravel driveway on the north side of the highway. Take it across a private RR crossing into the parking lot, which is mostly hidden behind trees.
Parking/Restroom Information No facilities. Gravel parking lot only.
Other Information The area is open during the general hunting season. It is closed the rest of the year to protect nesting waterfowl and due to persistent illegal dumping. That portion of the property lying east of the Mabton Siphon (large concrete pipe) is the Byron Reserve (no guns, traps or dogs are allowed).
Access Site #2
Driving Directions From Mabton, drive east on highway 22 for 3.5 miles to Bus Road. Go north on Bus Road about 0.5 mi. Just before the 90 degree turn to the west, enter the parking lot to the east, via a narrow cut in the rocks.
Parking/Restroom Information No facilities
Other Information Same as Site #1.
A wetland system runs the entire length of this property (approx. 2 miles) with only one crossing at the halfway point.
Very harsh, rocky terrain. Rattlesnakes are common.
A Discover Pass or WDFW Vehicle Access Pass
is required on all WDFW lands. Learn more at DiscoverPass.wa.gov