Thursday, November 22, 2007

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge: Keepin' it Wild

Erik Robinson of the Vancouver Columbian has published a fascinating article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the problems of plumbing a wildlife refuge along the highly controlled Columbia River.
"To support a wide array of wildlife, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service makes use of a dizzying array of ditches, sloughs, lakes, levees and pumps to keep water levels just so. Drain gates and fill gates provide the off-on switch for moving water around the refuge, a low-tech version of the binary system of ones and zeroes that operates computers.

"This is kind of like a maze," said Jennifer Brown, the refuge manager."

Read the whole thing and you'll never look at a wetland refuge the same way again.