The Port of Klickitat owns and manages wetlands and natural areas that have been set aside to protect wildlife and habitat. These areas are off-limits to the public, but planned trails and platforms will offer views of these areas, and the wildlife that inhabit them, from a safe distance. Learn more about the wildlife that lives at or visits the Port as well as the plants that either already exist at the Port or are being reintroduced as part of our conservation program.
Dark Sky Initiative
Astronomers estimate that from earth, over 5,700 stars are visible to the naked eye. But in the Columbia Gorge, like many other areas, light pollution is making it increasingly difficult to see many of them. The Port of Klickitat supports reducing such light pollution as well as the efforts of others to do so, commonly known as "Dark Sky Initiatives". Recognizing its own contribution to the problem, in 2008 the Port embarked on a program to reduce its light footprint by eliminating all upward light sources and significantly limiting horizontal light sources (the effects of which are illustrated in this picture).
As of the end of 2014, we have replaced or eliminated twenty-seven fixtures at Bingen Point and two at Dallesport. Depending upon location, new fixtures point downward at 45-degree or 90-degree angles. Port tenants and new construction are also required to take reasonable steps to prevent light loss and light trespass. While that's a good start, there is more work to be done. Over the next several years the Port will continue its work on this project, replacing nearly two dozen additional fixtures as they wear out or are damaged. We're doing our part to make sure the stars continue to sparkle over Klickitat County, but we can't do it alone. For more information on protecting our night sky and on how you can help, visit the Dark Skies Awareness project or the International Dark-Sky Association.
Invasive Species Eradication
Over the years, Bingen Lake and the area surrounding Bingen Harbor have been overrun with weeds and other undesirable plants. From Reed Canarygrass and Bull Thistle to Himalayan Blackberry and Scotch Broom, these non-native, invasive, and/or noxious plants threaten native plants and prevent the kind of diversity desired. Plants targeted for eradication include the following:
Blackberry – Himalayan
Canarygrass – Reed
Chervil – Wild & Burr
Groundsel – Common
Knapweed – Diffuse
Knapweed – Spotted
Mustard – Garlic & Hedge
Teasel – Common
Thistle – Canada
Thistle – Bull
Starthistle – Yellow
Toadflax – Dalmation
To find out more about noxious weeds, visit the Noxious Weed Control Boards of Klickitat County and Washington State or review the county and state noxious weed lists. Please join us in keeping invasive weeds out of Klickitat County.
Native Plant Restoration
In conjunction with the Port's invasive species eradication efforts, we are also working to restore appropriate native plants in areas where invasives have been removed to create a more natural environment and to help prevent re-infestation. In many cases, native plants already exist in other areas targeted for infrastructure work that would ultimately destroy them. By systematically transplanting natives from these locations into the Port's wetland and natural areas as well as other parts of its landscape, we can prevent this loss, limit the cost of the program, and utilize plants already acclimated to the location. In addition, where certain desirable native plants do not already exist, the Port will acquire a limited number for reintroduction and future propagation. For more information on the plants permitted for use by the Port, please review our plants list.
Monarch Butterfly Preservation
Monarch larvae feed exclusively on the Milkweed plant, known for the milky sap or latex contained in its leaves. Most species are toxic to vertebrate herbivores, if eaten, because of the alkaloids contained in their leaves and stems. When Monarch larvae ingest milkweed, they also ingest the plants' toxins. These are stored in their wings and exoskeletons, making the larvae and adults toxic to many potential predators.
However, the population of these beautiful butterflies has continued to decline. Why? Because habitat destruction has reduced the range and quantity of Milkweed plants upon which they depend. Fortunately, Milkweeds can be found in Klickitat County and on the Port's Bingen Point properties. Like the restoration program noted above, the Port is engaged in transplanting existing plants and preparing to reintroduce Milkweed plants in several sections of the Bingen Lake wetland.
How can you help? Volunteer to grow Milkweed starts from seed for later transplant. To volunteer and obtain seeds, please contact us. For more information on Monarch butterflies, visit the University of Kansas' Monarch Watch web site.