One of three large National Wildlife Refuges in the Willamette Valley, Ankeny NWR consists of flat to gently rolling land near the confluence of the Willamette and Santiam rivers. It was established in 1965 to provide winter habitat for Dusky Canada Geese, a subspecies that winters primarily in the Willamette Valley. Four other subspecies also regularly winter here. Grass fields provide forage for wintering goose flocks, and restored wetlands provide roosting habitat for geese, as well as habitat for other waterfowl and water birds. The refuge is used by good numbers of shorebirds in migration. Wood ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and other waterfowl nest here as well. Riparian cottonwood and ash forests, oak woodland, wet prairie, and hedgerows provide habitat for other wildlife and native plants. (Contributed by Karen Viste-Sparkman)
Riparian habitat along Sidney Ditch and other waterways on the refuge support Yellow Warblers and Willow Flycatchers, both species that have been identified as focal species by Partners in Flight. No formal surveys have been done to estimate populations, but the Yellow Warbler population is estimated to be around 25 pairs during the breeding season. Ankeny supports large concentrations of geese and ducks during the winter. The 2000 mid-winter waterfowl count total was 38,435 ducks and geese. Peak numbers probably exceed this total, since over 32,000 geese have been counted roosting on the refuge. The refuge has also supported large flocks of Dunlin during the past few winters that have been estimated at 20,000 birds. Concentrations of other shorebirds can frequently be found on the refuge during migration. (Contributed by Karen Viste-Sparkman)
Invasion of non-native plant species is an ongoing problem that requires repeated chemical and mechanical treatment of vegetation. Succession of woody vegetation into the wet prairie is a problem in a small area of the refuge. Prairie restoration needs to take place in degraded prairie areas and retired farm fields by controlling invasive plants through mechanical, and chemical control; controlling encroaching woody species through mechanical removal and fire; and reintroducing native prairie plant species. Planting riparian tree and shrub species is needed to expand riparian habitat. (Contributed by Karen Viste-Sparkman)
This is one of three National Wildlife Refuges in the Willamette Valley.