WILDLIFE – Riparian habitat development to begin Monday at Rice Bar and Central Ferry habitat management units on the lower Snake River will require temporary closures in work areas, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Hunting will not be allowed in the areas. Maps showing temporary restricted zones will be at parking area kiosks.
The 40 acres of riparian plantings to occur at Central Ferry HMU and 20 acres at Rice Bar HMU mark the final stage of a multi-year effort to develop 200 acres of riparian habitat to meet the requirements of the Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan.
A $3.9-million contract was awarded to Environmental Assessment Services, LLC, an Alaska Native corporation-owned small disadvantaged business from Richland, Washington. The work includes removing invasive non-native species and replanting with native species in areas where they would naturally occur along the river.
The new plantings will include native willows, cottonwood, elderberry, chokecherry and serviceberry, along with other plants based on availability. The native plant species will encourage wildlife to return to the area, officials say.
The riparian habitat is desirable for native and migratory birds in Washington. It supports tree and willow growth near water sources, while transitioning to sagebrush-steppe area farther upland.
By complying with the Comp Plan, the Corps meets USFWS and WDFW requirements for habitat mitigation -- a total of more than 12,000 acres of various types of habitat.
In addition to wildlife, Corps HMUs provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy wildlife-oriented outdoor recreation activities -- and the occasional college beer bust.