Fall Meeting 2015

2015 Fall SRM Section Workshop

Natural Resources in the Hanford Reach
Wednesday September 16 – Friday September 18, 2015
Richland, WA

Unoccupied arid lands flanking the Columbia River in south-central Washington provide stark contrasts in natural resources and land use. Rangelands in the shadow of the Pacific Crest supported sparse bunchgrass prairies, vulnerable to fire, drought, and other disturbance. Through these open expanses, salmon and waterfowl migrated through Nch’i-Wana – the Big River – in great abundance from time before memory. Irrigation greatly expanded the network of waterways, and with it, verdant agriculture, wetlands, and aggressive water-loving vegetation.

Ample river water and the area’s remoteness supported production of nuclear weapons in the Hanford area from World War II until the 1980’s. Following the “Cold War”, portions of this reserve were transferred to non-defense agencies, devoted to wildlife refuges, environmental preserves, and Native American resource areas.

Join us at the 2015 annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Section of the Society of Range Management to explore these resources and the Hanford Reach National Monument, the last free-flowing stretch of the Columbia River.  

Schedule (printable schedule)


Registration (printable form)

  • Timely registration is $100.00 ($US) and must be postmarked or made electronically by September 1. Registration includes Wednesday REACH Museum pass and evening social; Thursday tour, lunch, and banquet; Friday tour transportation and lunch. Late registration fee after September 1 is $120.
  • PayPal: sign in to your account, select “pay or send money”, specify for “goods or services,” type in cobermil@blm.gov (select “no address needed”), enter amount and select “continue.”  In “Notes” section, indicate attendees, banquet guests, and affiliation (if desired on name badge).
  • Snail mail: Make check or money order ($US please) payable to Washington Chapter SRM and mail to Sarah Troutman-Zahn / 1251 Second Avenue South, Suite 101 / Okanogan, WA 98840.

Hotel and camping

  • Shilo Motor Inn – 50 Comstock Street, Richland, WA. 509.946.4661 (Block reserved until Sept 2; group rate: $81.00 nightly for 2 queen beds).
  • Horn Rapids County Park – 115803 N State Route 225 / Benton City, WA. Contact Mark Finkbeiner: 509.531.7016. RV space: $20; Tent sites: $15

More information, links, maps (printable information sheet)

Hanford Reach is the last downstream free flowing stretch of the Columbia River uninfluenced by reservoirs or tides. Extending from Priest River Dam to Richland, Washington, it includes 51 miles of river and surrounding land. It is the location of the 2015 PNW Section SRM Fall Meeting. Hanford Reach is unique for its geology, archeological sites, unparalleled irrigated agriculture, arid rangelands, cultural heritage, and development of the nuclear bomb during WWII. Most of Hanford Reach is now national monument, administered by US Fish and Wildlife Service. Join us for the Fall meeting to explore Hanford Reach.

Tri-Cities, Washington sits at the southern end of Hanford Reach at the convergence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers. Except for West Richland (inc. 1955), its constituent cities, Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland, were incorporated in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s as irrigated agriculture and railroads developed in the area. Tri-Cities population is about one-quarter million; it is one of the nation’s fastest growing metropolitan areas. And, the fall weather promises to be great. Tri-Cities boasts 300+ days of blue skies a year. Average September high temperature is 80℉ and average low is 51℉. Chance of precipitation during the Fall Meeting is low: only one year in ten will there be rainfall of 0.1” or more during the meeting dates. Average annual precipitation in Tri-Cities is 7.5”.

On Wednesday afternoon, September 16, we begin the Fall Meeting at the Reach Museum and Interpretive Center in Kennewick (map linked on the reverse), were we set the stage for the next two days of the meeting. Your registration includes a museum pass beginning at 2:00 p.m. Museum interpreters will be available until 5 p.m. Exhibits include natural history, the Manhattan Project (WWII nuclear bomb), geology, irrigated agriculture, and human history. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about Hanford Reach. Plan about 1 1/2 hours to tour the museum before the social which will also be held at the Reach beginning at 5 p.m. when it closes to the public but remains open to us.

On Thursday, September 17, we will begin the day in West Richland at Barker Ranch, a “world class wetlands – designed and managed for waterfowl.”  Using a number of tools including surface irrigation, managed grazing, weed and brush control, Barker Ranch transformed the desert into an eye popping wetland. Capitalizing on the Wetland Reserve Program, Barker Ranch worked with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to make this transformation.

In the afternoon, we will reconvene at the Richland Community Center to hear presentations on the Pacific Flyway by Matt Wilson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Fire, Cheatgrass, and Native Plant Communities by Steven Link, Botanist; and Forty Years of Environmental Research at Arid Lands Ecology Reserve (part of the Hanford Reach National Monument) by Janelle Downs and William Rickard (ret.) of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. After dinner, Roy Gebhardt, retired from PNNL, will discuss cleanup of nuclear contamination at the Hanford Site, former home of the Manhattan Project.

On Friday, September 18 we will bus tour Hanford Reach, traveling upriver on the east side of Hanford Reach National Monument from Ringold Springs Fish Hatchery to White Bluffs Overlook, experiencing sweeping vistas steeped in human and natural history, seeing signs of current and past land management, and reflecting on the past as we peer across the river at the remnants of plutonium production facilities at the Hanford Site and beyond to the slope of Rattlesnake Mountain, an area replete with Native American cultural and spiritual significance. We will finish with a visit to restoration areas following a 2007 wildfire. Tour interpreters will be US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Heidi Newsome and archeologist Dale Earl; SEE Botanical Consultants Richard Easterly and Debra Salstrom; and WSU Tri-Cities geologist Duane Horton. We will return to the Shilo Inn to adjourn our meeting at 3 p.m.

Register by September 1 to avoid late fees. Book your room at the Shilo Inn in Richland by September 1 to take advantage of blocked rooms and rates. Browse to Tri-Cities Visitor Bureau to order a great tourist guide, detailed road map, wine and vineyard information, and other recreational opportunities.

The Reach: Wednesday afternoon, September 16

1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352

(509) 943-4100

Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/WLRCz

Shilo Inn: Depart from here Thursday and Friday mornings,  September 16 & 17

50 Comstock St, Richland, WA 99352

(509) 946-4661

Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/xlWgX

Barker Ranch Limited: Thursday morning, September 17

85305 Snively Rd., West Richland, WA 99353

(509) 967-3023

Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/QEZLT

Richland Community Center: Thursday afternoon, September 17

500 Amon Park Rd N, Richland, WA 99352

(509) 942-7529

Google map (called Richland Parks and Recreation): https://goo.gl/maps/GmXFE

Horn Rapids Campground

115803 N State Route 225, Benton City, WA

Contact Mark Finkbeiner, Park Ranger, 509-531-7016

Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/gBq07

Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau: Wine tasting galore, golf, fishing, local events, recreational  opportunities, and maps

7130 W. Grandridge Blvd., Suite B, Kennewick, WA 99336

(509) 735-8486 / 800-254-5824

Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/LlJXH

Google map showing route between meeting locations

Hanford Reach National Monument  

For more information or assistance, contact one of the planning committee members:

Jeff Burnahm (435) 890-9879; Julie Conley (509) 654-0297; Richard Fleenor (509) 323-2965; Kevin Guinn (509) 754-3023 x1119; Will Keller (509) 322-4238; Tom Platt  (509) 725-0262; Courtney Smith (208) 305-2663