Wapato Lake NWR

Official Refuge Website


Supporting Partner

The Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

An up-and-coming wetland treasure

Located to the West of Portland, OR, in the growing town of Gaston, Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge is helping to reverse the trend of wetland loss in the United States.

Historically, seasonal flood waters from the Tualatin River created Wapato Lake. Rich peat soils found in the lakebed supported wetland habitats that were surrounded by hardwood forests on the adjacent floodplains. These plant communities supported diverse wildlife communities that included migrating and wintering waterfowl, raptors, migratory songbirds, fish, amphibians and reptiles.

Refuge staff are working with partners to learn about the natural cycles of the lakebed and to plan habitat restoration activities to mimic those cycles. Ultimately, restoration efforts at Wapato Lake National Wildlife refuge will contribute to the health of the Tualatin River watershed and those who live within it.

The Refuge is not yet open to the public, but we are working with partners and the community in that direction.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge is part of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, along with Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The refuges are “Complexed” for the purpose of management efficiencies and resource sharing. They are also all connected by a common natural resource, the Tualatin River.