Reardan - Audubon Lake

By Cindy McCormack

The Site

Reardan's Audubon Lake is the headwaters for Crab Creek, which stretches 136 miles - the longest tributary to the Columbia River. The lake also apparently provides water to Deep Creek, which flows into the Spokane River. The lake is relatively isolated and provides a perennial source of water, a strong draw for migrating birds. The lake is connected by a culvert to the finishing pond for Reardan's treated sewage, adding to the nutrient base for wildlife. The water tends to be slightly alkaline but also nutrient rich, so it has an incredible population of invertebrates that are a good source of food for waterfowl and neo-tropical migrants such as Marsh Wrens that make a living off of emerging insects.

The lake has open water, wetland grasses, and emergent vegetation favored by prairie pothole and marshland nesters. During late summer and fall, the area also has some wide mudflats that attract a variety of shorebirds. The uplands consist of mixture of grassland, shrub-steppe, and aspen clones (groves formed by sprouting from horizontal roots).

Spokane Audubon is currently engaged in the acquisition of a portion of the ponds.

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The Birds

Audubon Lake is an exceptional site for migrating birds, especially shorebirds and waterfowl. Breeding birds include Pied-billed and Eared Grebe, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, American Coot, Redhead, Ruddy Duck, Marsh Wren, Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Rarities previously recorded at the lake include Tufted Duck, Snowy Plover, Piping Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Ruff, and Black-legged Kittiwake.

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Directions and Suggestions

Best viewing is during spring, summer, and fall. The surface is usually frozen during winter.

From Route 2, take Route 231 north. Reardan's Audubon Lake is located just north of the Reardan city limits on either side of Route 231. At this time, the general public may view the ponds only from the highway. The property currently under negotiation is along the east side of Route 231. All property on the west side of the highway is private - please do not trespass.
With prior arrangements, access and views of the east end of the lake can be possible. Contact Spokane Audubon Society for information.
Amenities are available in Reardan (gas, restaurants, grocery, restrooms).
Warnings: Route. 231 viewing is along the road shoulder. Pull well off the road in one of the wider pull-outs, and exercise extreme caution when viewing along this road.
NOTICE, August, 2005--
Due to liability issues with livestock presently on the property, Susan Eastman has posted her property "No Trespassing," and has asked folks who have been birding on the property to honor the posted signs. Spokane Audubon and Inland Northwest Lands Trust also request that everyone please bird only from the road until the property has been purchased through the WWRP program. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Gary Blevins at GaryB@spokanefalls.edu or 509-533-3661.

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References

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