Gorge Refuge Stewards support Steigerwald

The Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards are a volunteer group dedicated to stewardship of our local National Wildlife Refuges, and we’ve worked alongside them for many years at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This past fall, the Gorge Refuge Stewards formalized our work together with an agreement to support our community engagement and stewardship work at the refuge.

people line up in a row to plant trees
Clark County students from an Ecological Restoration class volunteer at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge.


The Gorge Refuge Stewards are all-volunteer, and they work alongside the US Fish and Wildlife Service year-round to improve Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located along the Columbia River near Washougal. 

Seven folks sit on a log and smile
Members of the Gorge Refuge Stewards take a break from planting. 


Steigerwald Lake offers several miles of trails to observe the abundant birds and wildlife who live on and visit the refuge, as well as amazing views of the Columbia River. It’s also a site where the Estuary Partnership has been leading programs for students and community members for more than 15 years. 

a group of students sit on a rock by the Columbia River
Students rest by the Columbia River during a Gorge Refuge Stewards-sponsored field trip.


In every season, the Refuge Stewards can be found working in close collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to improve Steigerwald. From trail work to site maintenance, the Refuge Stewards are essential to Steigerwald’s operations. 

The Refuge Stewards also played a key role in the Steigerwald Reconnection Project. Members of the group gathered wapato seed, assisted with fish salvage along Gibbons Creek, and helped to plant native trees and shrubs in the newly created wetlands. 

5 people stand up to their waists in a narrow stream, holding nets to catch fish
Salvaging fish in Gibbons Creek prior to construction in 2021.

Beginning last fall, the Gorge Refuge Stewards have supported a variety of our student and community education and stewardship events. We’ve worked together to gather wapato seed, get local kids outdoors to hike and plant trees and learn about birds, and engage volunteers to improve the refuge’s habitat.

students hold a planting bar at Steigerwald
Students at Steigerwald in November 2023.


group picture of volunteers at the refuge

We look forward to continuing our work alongside the Gorge Refuge Stewards! 

You can develop a deeper connection to Steigerwald by getting involved directly with the Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards! Visit their website to learn about more opportunities to get involved. 

volunteers plant along Gibbons Creek, as viewed from a bridge above