Sunnyside-Snake River
Wildlife Area Location

Phillip Buser
2620 North Commercial Ave
Pasco, WA 99301
(509) 545-2028

Wildlife Areas
Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area
Windmill Ranch Unit
The Windmill Ranch unit consists of four separate parcels totaling 2,000 acres located about three miles northwest of Mesa in Franklin County. Parcels are owned by WDFW, DNR, and BOR, but all are managed by WDFW. Field corn is grown for the benefit of wintering waterfowl and migrating sandhill cranes. The rest of the area is a mosaic of several habitat types, including shrub-steppe, grasslands, ponds, wetlands and riparian shrub, and forest. A history of grazing and fire has removed much of the shrub component from the shrub-steppe areas but replanting efforts have restored at least part of it. Wetlands, primarily formed by irrigation seepage and wastewater and return flows, are also scattered throughout the property. Some are intensively managed for moist soil conditions and waterfowl production and winter food. Others are left to function naturally. The Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, which is the source of all water on this site, has created numerous sub-irrigated areas that are rife with noxious weeds such as Canada thistle, phragmites, purple loosestrife and salt cedar. A relatively new weed, hairy willow herb, was just discovered on this site in 2005.
Viewing Opportunities


  • Birds of Prey
  • Shorebirds
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Wading Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Mammals

  • Deer
  • Elk
  • Other

  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    In Franklin Co., and from Highway 17 near Mesa, take state route 170 west, toward Basin City. Drive 4 miles to Colonial Road. Drive north on Colonial Road for approx. .75 mile. The road makes a 90 degree turn to the east and ends in the south parking lot.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    Gravel parking lot. No facilities
    Other Information
    Register to Hunt; 5 car limit during hunting seasons only. No overnight camping or open fires. See kiosk for further information/restrictions
    Access Site #2
    Driving Directions
    From Highway 17, north of Mesa, take Merion Road and drive 2 miles west. Cross the Potholes Canal and turn right into the parking lot, which is hidden from view by a willow thicket. (do not take the canal access road).
    Parking/Restroom Information
    Gravel parking lot. No facilities
    Other Information
    same as the south parking lot. 5 car limit in each of the parking lots during the hunting seasons. Register to Hunt.
    Unique Features
    This 2,000 acre site provides very diverse habitat. It is a working ranch, with 9 center pivots providing irrigation to mostly small grains. Several shrub plantings and pond developments are scattered throughout the site. A large lake runs across the northern boundary. Sandhill cranes are a common site in the ag fields in the spring. Heavy concentrations of waterfowl are common in these fields after the hunting season. Foot traffic only
    Other Information
    This area can provide excellent upland and waterfowl hunting. The restricted access can result in high competition for parking slots at the beginning of the hunting season and again in late winter when waterfowl numbers are high.
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    Green Dot Maps
    No activities currently listed for this Unit.

    If you are Hunting or Fishing, remember to check all current regulations.

    Activities may include restrictions or require permits. Please see Public Conduct Rules for more information.