The Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian Whitetail Deer provides critical habitat for an endangered subspecies of White-tailed Deer. The refuge, almost 5,000 acres in extent, includes Columbia River floodplain and islands. Grasslands and croplands are interspersed with woodlots, brushy thickets, and sloughs, as well as tidal spruce swamps. The deer, endangered since 1975, do not readily feed out in the open, so trees and thickets are an important element of their habitat. The refuge also serves as a wintering area for Tundra Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, wigeons, and Northern Pintails. Waterbirds and raptors (including Bald Eagles and Ospreys) are also common. Salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and trout live in the surrounding waters. Columbian White-tailed Deer and Elk are easily observed from the county road that encircles the mainland portion of the refuge; evenings and mornings are the best times to see them.
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