Toppenish Wildlife Refuge
As US-97 bends southward from Toppenish, it crosses through a nearly 2000-acre oasis of wetlands, grasslands and wildlife. The Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge draws on streams and summer irrigation to provide food and breeding grounds for migratory birds and habitat for animals. It’s also part of the Sun and Sage Loop (site number 29) of the Audubon Society’s Birding Trail.
The Yakima Valley, which Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge sits in, has a broad collection of habitats and thus a diversity of species. Natural wetlands, such as sloughs and oxbows, are flanked by riparian areas. Many species of migratory waterfowl and nongame birds, such as rails, Savannah sparrows and northern harriers, use the wetlands for feeding and nesting activities.
Native shrub-steppe, characterized by big sagebrush, greasewood, bitterbrush, rabbitbrush and native bunchgrasses, covered upland areas. Loggerhead shrikes, long-billed curlews, sage thrashers, Brewer’s and sage sparrows, burrowing owls and California quails are only some of the animals that use the shrub-steppe.
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